How many times have you heard your child’s other parent claim he or she is sober, but you’ve seen the same signs of being under the influence so many times that you know it’s a lie? You have concerns about your child being around that parent but your fears have fallen on deaf ears so you seek help that results in periodic drug testing that somehow always comes back negative.
Drug testing is a safeguard used by the family court to protect your child when it comes to child custody and visitation where a parent has been accused of having a history of drug use or abuse. The risk of a parent’s inability to safely or effectively care for or protect a child while in his or her care cannot go ignored as the court owes a duty to protect the best interests of children.
Popular ways to trick a drug test
Unfortunately, there are a few popular ways to manipulate drug tests so you may have to work with your attorney and the court to find more creative ways to outsmart the drug addicted parent for your child’s wellbeing.
- Dilution. When you dilute a sample, it means you have added water or another liquid substance to urine intending to decrease the potency of any drug chemicals in the hope that they won’t be detectable. The result can be that there won’t be enough of a drug showing up to exceed the testing cutoff point that would render the sample positive for the tested drug. Dilution is only possible with urine tests, which are still ordered in some cases but are starting to fall out of favor at least in custody and visitation cases because of the serious nature of what’s at stake.
- Substitution. Trading out your urine sample for that of someone else with a clean sample has happened for as long as drug tests have existed. An easier way of doing this is by purchasing a powdered urine pre-mixed with water that is hidden upon entering a testing center. A trained collector will still be able to find the hidden urine before you are able to switch it out during sample collection. Even if the parent being tested somehow makes it past a collector and successfully makes the switch, there are still ways that trusted labs can tell the difference, which will prompt a retest.
- Adulteration. Manipulating a specimen can be done not only with urine, but with hair. Adding chemicals to urine can hide the presence of drugs just as washing your hair with a detoxification system can remove enough of the chemical presence that high enough levels may not register on a test. However, once again, labs are skilled at detecting anomalies and may ask you to test again.
Newer drug testing methods may make cheating a thing of the past
While cheating clearly goes on when the worlds of drug use and child custody collide, there is potential to better guarantee the purity of results.
- Fingernail testing. Fingernails are four times thicker than the standard strand of hair that is used in a hair follicle test, which allows them to store more of the drug being tested for. Because substances can pass from blood vessels into the nail, they become trapped making nails a better testing sample as drugs can be detected for up to six months after last use.
- Fingerprint testing. A technological breakthrough using fingerprints may soon become the new gold standard for drug testing. The test, known as paper spray mass spectrometry, analyzes the molecules excreted through your fingerprint to within 99% accuracy. One of the benefits of this testing method will be the inability to manipulate the test because your molecules and fingerprint cannot be faked.
Cheating on a drug test can come back to haunt you. A judge will be well within his or her power to strip you of your visitation rights until you can meet any requirements the court places on you. If you have been caught cheating, those requirements may become much more rigid to ensure you straighten yourself out before being granted the privilege of becoming part of your child’s life again.
If you have a child custody or visitation issue affected by drug use, schedule a consultation with one of our child-focused custody and visitation attorneys at the Columbia family law firm at McCabe Russell, P.A. by calling 443-917-3347, or feel free to reach out to us through our contact form.