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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10 August 2020: Drug and Alcohol Training from Randox Testing Services
As well as providing a fully managed drug & alcohol testing service, RTS provide a range of training and education services to help inform and educate regarding the issue of drug & alcohol use in the workplace.
Alcohol use increases the risk of problems in the workplace, such as absenteeism, presenteeism and inappropriate behaviour. Use of alcohol or illicit drugs can impair a person’s performance at work through poor decision making and impaired reaction times causing lost productivity, inferior goods/services, errors and accidents.
Certain working situations and conditions are associated with use of alcohol and illicit drugs (i.e. shift or night work, travel away from home, working remotely, business meals, poor communications and job stress, etc). There are many factors within the workplace culture that present an increased risk for the use of substances including availability, work/peer-group pressures, lack of supervision, physical danger and interface with a demanding or aggressive public. International evidence also indicates that longer working hours are significantly associated with higher rates of alcohol use and related problems.
Randox Testing Services offer professional training services to ensure efficient implementation of workplace drug and alcohol testing. The training services confirm employer confidence to carry out workplace drug and alcohol testing and management competence in enforcing the process. There are a range of tailored training programmes to educate employers and their management staff.
Range of Courses
Our range of competency courses are designed to train employees who will be responsible for carrying out self-collection in accordance with company policy. Anyone involved in self-collection needs to be suitably trained and certificated to follow set procedures that ensure all testing can be legally defended. We provide competency courses for the following matrices:
- Alcohol Testing
- Instant Urine Testing
- Instant Oral Fluid Testing
In addition to the above, we also provide a portfolio of other training and education presentations that enable employers to enhance awareness of substance misuse & understand the various processes involved when implementing a workplace testing programme. These options include:
- Chain of Custody Training
- Drug & Alcohol Awareness Training
- Employee Briefings
- Bespoke Training Courses
All training courses are fully recorded, regularly reviewed and include an assessment of the effectiveness of training. Upon completion, all attendees are granted a Certificate of Attendance at the end of each completed training course.
Randox Testing Services
Randox Testing Services are a specialist in the workplace drug & alcohol testing sector. We provide a wide range of testing for companies who want to reduce the impact of substance misuse in the workplace. With a range of service options and expert staff on hand to provide help and training, our services will help to eradicate the impact of drugs and alcohol.
If you have any questions regarding drug & alcohol testing and how we can provide your company with training and education services, please use the below details to get in touch and we will be happy to discuss requirements.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – +44 (0) 28 9445 1011
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Calibration verification or linearity assessment is defined as the testing of materials of known concentration in the same manner as patient specimens to ensue the test system is accurately measuring samples throughout the reportable range.
CLIA recommend calibration verification once every six months and/or in the event of; a reagent lot change, major preventative maintenance, replacement of critical parts, when QC materials are outside acceptable limits or reflect an unusual trend and as part of new instrument validation.
Our Acusera range of instrument dedicated verifiers are designed to challenge the entire analytical measuring range whilst helping to meet the CLIA requirements. Our range covers Clinical Chemistry, Bilirubin, Apolipoproteins, Enzymes, CRP, Esoterics, Lipids, TDM‘s and more.
Frequently Asked Media Questions
Randox have almost 40 years of experience as a primary manufacturer in the IVD (in vitro diagnostics) industry. Last year we manufactured over 3 billion tests and exported to 145 countries. Randox are an ISO 13485 accredited manufacturer of in-vitro diagnostic medical devices, are a provider of a global laboratory accreditation scheme (RIQAS) accredited to ISO 17043, and run a number of ISO 17025 accredited laboratories. As an exporter to 145 countries and a manufacturer to other diagnostic companies we undergo multiple external audits each year, in order to remain engaged with our global markets.
At the time of the emergence of the COVID-19 threat, Randox had already developed seven CE marked assays for a range of viruses, including a number of other coronaviruses.
Upon identifying the latest strain of coronavirus as a significant global threat, Randox was able to harness our R&D capability, and some 40 years’ in diagnostics, including viral tests, to develop an effective COVID-19 assay with the same rigorous validation processes that we applied to all our other assays.
The Randox COVID-19 test underwent evaluation within, and was accepted by, Public Health England.
In its evaluation of the Randox COVID-19 test, Public Health England’s report noted that the assay correctly identified all positive and negative samples without exception.
As one of the UK’s major life sciences companies, providing diagnostic capabilities both within the UK and globally for almost 40 years, Randox has maintained regular contact with senior officials directly responsible for Life Sciences in the UK, particularly in the fields of diagnostic capability and innovation. We had developed our COVID-19 testing capability by mid-February 2020, and notified officials as such.
Over a number of weeks, we worked collaboratively with government to determine how best we might be able to support the national testing programme.
Our contribution to this programme, which was announced on 27th March, was the culmination of significant engagement, from the identification of the threat, until that date.
The UK Government showed significant confidence in Randox’s capability and conducted full engagement and planning subject to PHE acceptance of the Randox test. When PHE acceptance was granted, the Randox part in the national plan had been prepared and was quickly initiated.
Randox are providing high volume testing within our laboratories.
It should be noted that Randox is only one partner within a multi-partner, national testing programme being run and coordinated by the Department of Health and Social Care.
In order for the testing programme to work efficiently, all partners work to ensure effective processes at each stage of the testing journey – from testing kit distribution and sample collection to transportation and delivery, and finally, the testing of the sample.
For our part, we are focused diligently on processing all tests in a timely manner after receipt of sample at our laboratory.
It is our priority to ensure that we support the national effort to fight COVID-19, by testing at scale, as we know that this is the most effective way to save lives and promote a timely return to a more normal society.
Our COVID-19 testing currently (as at June 2020) accounts for up to 17% of the national testing programme.
PHE managed the validation process for each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
We understand that the national plan for COVID-19 testing is exactly that, a national plan, inclusive of Northern Ireland. The planning for the national distribution of test kits is being managed by the various statutory agencies however Randox made the case that tests should be made available locally.
Following that engagement, Randox tests were made directly available within Northern Ireland, and sent, for example, to the drive-through test centre at the SSE arena.
Randox will continue to support Northern Ireland within the UK national plan.
The Randox COVID-19 test is a molecular-based test which looks for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) within the body. PCR (Polyamerase Chain Reaction) techniques are used to detect viral RNA (ribonucleic acid) contained inside the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The platform used for testing is Randox’s proprietary Biochip Technology, which allows multiple tests to be carried out simultaneously.
The COVID-19 Biochip conducts two tests – one specific and one confirmatory – as recommended by the World Health Organisation and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The majority of results are reported within 24 hours of receipt of sample at our laboratories.
There will always be challenges within the first few months of an unprecedented programme facing an unprecedented threat and the associated global supply chain issues affecting all countries and organisations.
We are successfully overcoming these issues, ramping up our testing capacity, and moving forward positively with all stakeholders. We remain committed to the provision of optimal support to the national testing programme and the wider effort to fight COVID-19.
The Health Secretary, Matthew Hancock, acknowledged that it was the lack of a significant domestic diagnostic industry that had impeded the Government’s initial efforts on testing, which helps explain the variation between the UK and other countries.
Read an Opinion Piece from our Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald, on the Telegraph Online, by clicking here.
In support of our role within the national testing programme we have invested £30m in a new COVID-19 testing laboratory at the Randox Science Park in Northern Ireland.
We have hired almost 300 new staff, and are recruiting for an additional 200 across science, engineering and manufacturing.
Find out more here.
As we continue to ramp up our testing capabilities, and work alongside the government to offer this testing to an increasing list of individuals, we also recognize a demand from a range of businesses who wish to adopt our innovative COVID-19 testing technologies to address their own particular testing requirements, without impacting on the public health need.
The Randox COVID-19 test is available to purchase as part of our ‘Get Back to Business’ COVID-19 testing service, for staff screening.
Since developing our COVID-19 assay, we have had various discussions with interested parties from countries such as China, Italy, Japan, Spain and of course the UK, on how to utilise the test to help their country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
On 7th August we took the decision to recall Covid-19 sample collection kits, following the identification of incomplete EC certification.
On 15th July DHSC placed these kits on hold due to the absence of swab certification from an external supplier. To date, Randox have not been provided with evidence to satisfactorily support the CE marking for these swabs.
So, noting the lack of CE certification by the supplier and that some kits remain in the field at this time Randox, as a regulatory measure, initiated the recall of those kits used within the National Testing Programme.
Randox Laboratories will continue to provide high volume Covid-19 testing to the National Testing Programme from their laboratories, based on sample collection kits from other providers.
DHSC have stated the risk to safety is low and test results from Randox kits are not affected.
The decision to recall Randox sample collection kits within the UK National Test and Trace Programme does not apply to our private business which uses a different supplier of swabs.
Randox private customers or kits are not affected.
For COVID-19 press enquiries please email email@example.com
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What We Do
What We Do
Disruptive Diagnostics and Healthcare
You may have heard of us.
Maybe you’re familiar with our sponsorship of the world’s greatest race, the Randox Grand National. Or perhaps you recognise the name Randox as being one of the partners in the UK Government’s testing programme for COVID-19.
But what exactly does Randox do?
Well, our main job is improving healthcare using innovative diagnostics technologies, for a range of health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and stroke.
Whilst the science is complex, the applications are not. Testing such as this takes place every day behind the scenes of GP surgeries and hospitals.
Around 70% of all medical decisions are based on laboratory results, and so, not surprisingly, we believe that earlier, more accurate and more accessible diagnostics are the key to improving global health and saving lives
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the vision of Randox?
The Randox ethos of improving healthcare, which drove our Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald to start the company in the 1980s, continues today. Up to 25% of our turnover is reinvested in research and development to enable our scientists to work on the development of pioneering tests for a range of common illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
We have also spent more than £220 million developing our patented Randox Biochip. This state-of-the-art biochip technology has revolutionised the diagnostics industry because it allows multiple tests to be carried out from a single, undivided patient sample on a single testing platform.
When and why was Randox established?
Our Managing Director Dr FitzGerald established Randox in 1982 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, to address the need for accurate and readily available diagnostic tests to improve patient diagnosis. At that time, doctors only conducted a handful of tests per patient, but now, more than 30 years later, Randox has developed and improved hundreds of tests, with hundreds more in development.
What products and service do Randox offer?
Randox has a broad range of products and services that offer a comprehensive insight into patient diagnosis to facilitate more effective disease management and treatment.
Our clinical product offering includes diagnostic reagents, quality control, and clinical chemistry analysers.
Our patented Randox Biochip Technology and associated Immunoassay analysers also have applications for forensic toxicology, food diagnostics, and workplace drug testing.
Our Randox Health clinics offer a range of health checks across general health, sexual health, respiratory health and more.
Who and where are Randox customers?
Randox’s focus has traditionally been on healthcare providers, so we have placed our products and services in hospitals, clinics, research and molecular laboratories, food testing, forensic toxicology, life sciences and veterinary laboratories.
With the establishment of our consumer brand, Randox Health, we also offer our innovative tests directly to the consumer in our Randox Health clinics, currently located in London, Liverpool, Holywood and Crumlin.
We have ambitious plans to roll out a number of new clinics across the United Kingdom and internationally, over the coming months and years.
What is the size of the company?
Our company has grown from a small team of two scientists, to 1500 employees of 44 nationalities, including 430 research scientists and engineers.
Where are Randox headquartered and what is the geographical reach?
Our headquarters are in Crumlin, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland – close to Belfast International Airport. However, we are a global company and currently have offices and distribution outlets in 145 countries, with manufacturing and R&D capabilities in 4 jurisdictions across 3 continents.
We are currently relocating our headquarters to the Randox Science Park in Antrim; a £161 million project which will accelerate the development of new products into a wide range of clinical needs, including various cancers, stroke, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders.
We are very proud of our global penetration – today, approximately 5% of the world’s population receives medical diagnoses using products from Randox. That equates to about 370 million people. We also supply 15% of the world’s cholesterol tests, so if you’ve ever had your cholesterol checked, then there’s a high chance it could have been performed using a Randox product!
What are the biggest issues within the health sector?
Our key observation across the globe is that within healthcare the pressure on resources means there is a focus on the “management of sickness,” rather than preventative care.
We know that a focus on early diagnosis and preventative care will improve patient outcomes and reduce the burden on healthcare systems. Making that paradigm shift is a major challenge.
That’s why Randox Health was established – to allow the consumer direct access to our innovative technologies so that they can take control of their health and make appropriate lifestyle changes BEFORE disease manifests and symptoms occur.
What is Randox doing in the fight against COVID-19?
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Acusera Linearity Verifier Sets are designed to challenge a larger section of an instruments reportable range and test if a system’s calibration is still valid. Our linearity materials cover a wide range of testing including, CRP, RF, Lipids, Therapeutic Drugs, Esoterics and more. Designed with user convenience in mind, all our linearity sets are supplied in a liquid format and in varying levels. Our unique combination of analytes enables laboratories to reduce the number of individual products required while ultimately reducing costs and time.
Complimentary, cloud-based data reduction software is supplied with all linearity sets, providing a graphical representation of results for at-a-glance performance assessment. Access to instantly updated peer group data and automatically generated statistics also helps to speed up data review. To view more of our quality control products click here.
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