The use of DNA, Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-Legal cases
18 September 2020: The use of DNA, Drug & Alcohol Testing in Medico-Legal cases
Drug and alcohol testing may be required by various professional bodies involved in child custody cases, care proceedings or child protection cases. In cases regarding divorce and children, a dispute may arise during the process of discussions involving the custody of children. In these cases, drug and alcohol testing may be sought if there has been a substance abuse claim against a parent fighting for custody or visitation. In cases relating to child protection, social services may seek drug and alcohol testing if child welfare claims have been made regarding suspected substance misuse.
Why is Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-legal Cases Important?
Drug and alcohol testing is important to ensure child protection from the detrimental effects of parental substance misuse and to ensure they have the quality of life they deserve. In addition, it is also important to allow parents the opportunity to get the help and support they need and begin rehabilitation treatment.
Doing the right thing by the child is the main priority, and where possible parent and child relationships are sought to be maintained. Drug and alcohol testing assists in these efforts and in such cases abstinence monitoring testing may be required to assess a parent’s recovery e.g. if a visitation case is being reassessed.
At Randox Testing Services we provide drug and alcohol testing to all professionals within the medico-legal sector. Our testing service utilises accredited testing methods and is made more cost-effective through patented testing methods developed by Randox.
We understand the impact a positive result can have on a parent, child, and extended family and ensure results are of the highest precision and accuracy. With over 35 years’ experience in the diagnostic industry we have gained reputation as a trusted provider.
Our drug and alcohol testing solutions are flexible and can be tailored to our customer needs with a choice of testing methods. We offer a comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu and our service also includes the use of an Expert Witness Statement where applicable.
Range of Testing
We provide a range of testing to suit the requirements for any medico-legal case. Read more below to find out what is available.
PEth (Phosphatidylethanol) is a direct alcohol biomarker that only forms in the body when ethanol is present, making it the most sensitive and specific test to assess alcohol consumption levels.
- PEth test involves spotting a drop of blood from a small finger prick onto a test card. The dried blood spot (DBS) is sent to the laboratory for analysis.
- PEth testing will differentiate between abstinence or light alcohol consumption, social alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse for up to a month prior to the test.
Benefits of PEth Testing
- Accurate blood alcohol test
- Detect chronic and single-drinking episodes of alcohol consumption
- Monitor abstinence, drinking behaviour and identify relapse
Hair Alcohol Testing
Testing for alcohol in head hair works by detecting two metabolites of alcohol: ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and the fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE). Both EtG and FAEE can be measured in hair providing an insight into alcohol consumption over the previous period of months. Concentrations can be influenced by cosmetic treatments and products and as such it is always advisable to test in conjunction with PEth or LFT/CDT blood testing.
Benefits of Hair Alcohol Testing
- Assessment of alcohol consumption for up to 6 months
- Collected by fully trained Collection Officer
- History of alcohol consumption can be established
Blood Alcohol Testing
Blood alcohol testing is used to measure the level of alcohol in an individual’s blood. When alcohol is consumed, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream, with approximately 90% being broken down into the liver. RTS offer the following blood alcohol tests:
- Liver Function Test (LFT) – The blood is examined for specific enzymes which can indicate damage to the liver caused by alcohol consumption. However, other factors can lead to increased levels of liver enzymes.
- Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) – Looks at specific protein which can become elevated because of heavy alcohol consumption. However, other factors can lead to increased levels of CDT.
Benefits of Blood Alcohol Testing
- Collection by a fully trained phlebotomist collection officer
- Assessment of alcohol consumption for up to 1 month
- Determine drinking behaviour and patterns of use
Urine drug testing is used to determine whether someone is misusing drugs by taking a sample of their urine. We offer a 12 panel that covers the major drug groups, including:
Opiates, MDMA/Ecstasy, Cocaine, Tramadol, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Ketamine, Amphetamine, Cannabinoids, EDDP, Benzodiazepines, Buprenorphine
Benefits of Urine Drug Testing
- Assessment of substance consumption for up to 12 days, drug dependent and quantity ingested
- Confirmation of presumptive positive available on request
- Fully accredited LC mass spectrometry confirmatory analysis
Hair drug testing is a useful form of testing and can be used to support other methods such as oral fluid and urine testing. Our standard panel for hair drug testing includes:
Opiates, Methadone, Tramadol, Cocaine (inc. Crack Cocaine), Amphetamines, (inc. Methamphetamines and “ecstasy” type drugs), Benzodiazepines, Cannabis, Ketamine
Benefits of Hair Drug Testing
- Detection window of 0-12 months dependent on length (1cm roughly 1 month) – Can be an overview of 3 monthly periods or segmented into monthly periods.
- Head hair & body hair (except axillary & pubic)
- Body hair – Up to a 12-month overview. Unable to be segmented
- Bespoke hair drug panel with other substances available on request
We provide a range of DNA Testing services to suit your requirements.
- Paternity testing
- Maternity testing
- Sibling DNA testing
- Grandparent DNA testing
- Aunt/Uncle testing
Benefits of DNA Testing
- Fully trained collection officer
- Legally accepted results
Want to find out more?
To speak to one of our experts about how our range of testing and services can help with your medico-legal testing enquiry, contact us today by emailing email@example.com or by phoning +44 (0) 28 9445 1011
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