Did you know that the criminal justice system sometimes requires individuals to remain drug-free or alcohol-free in order to comply with a legal requirement? To this end, courts may require individuals to undergo drug and alcohol testing to prove their sobriety. In addition to being illegal, drugs are often closely tied to criminal activity in America, and they are sometimes the motivation for crimes, such as theft and assault. Judges order drug and alcohol testing for a variety of reasons, and community-based drug testing procedures vary based on a variety of factors, including the court or family agency, the criminal’s past, the crime, and more.
Uses for Community-Based Drug Testing
There are many situations in which individuals are court-ordered to undergo drug testing, including the following:
- Probation Drug Testing: Sometimes individuals must earn the trust of the court by maintaining sobriety. If the individual tests positive for drugs, he or she may be sent back to jail.
- Child Custody: Legal battles involving child custody sometimes include drug abuse among one or both parents. To protect the child involved, child protective agencies may require ongoing drug testing in order for the child to be placed with a parent. Drug testing could also be agreed upon by the two parties or ordered by the court. Finally, sometimes a parent must be tested prior to or immediately following visitation or custody.
- Divorce Cases: Attorneys may negotiate for drug testing in divorce cases if one spouse alleges that the other engages in drug abuse. The judge will decide if drug testing is appropriate given the circumstances. If drug testing is employed in a divorce case, the judge will often require both the requesting party and the accused party to submit to drug testing.
- DUI and DWI Programs: Individuals arrested or convicted of a DUI or DWI must often undergo court-ordered drug and alcohol testing. Sometimes the court will require an Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) test or a hair specimen test, which have longer windows of detection.
In addition, drug testing is sometimes used immediately after an offense, like running a red light or driving while intoxicated.
Community-Based Drug Testing Procedures
An effective drug detection program should include comprehensive policies and procedures in written form, which must clearly communicate details of the program to the court staff and testing participants. The policies should explain the responsibilities of the program’s administrators and the expectations of the participants.
The schedule and frequency of testing typically depends on the court/program. This also sometimes varies based on the offender’s prior history and the extent and severity of their past drug use. Some of the more aggressive programs test two times or more per week.
There are two basic types of testing schedules: regular and random. With a regular testing schedule, the participant is tested at regular and consistent intervals. Random testing can happen at any time, so it prevents the participant from preparing for the test. Mixing the two types of frequency schedules may produce the most effective results.
Courts can customize the types of drugs they wish to test for in a case. Many courts use a set number of drugs, or “panels,” which are specified in advance. Courts test for many different substances aside from the standard drugs, i.e. amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, PCP and marijuana. In addition, courts are also forced to test for less common drugs, such as bath salts and K2/spice. And of course, almost all courts in the Midwest are testing for synthetic opioids and the newer drugs reaching the illicit market, like fentanyl and carfentanil.
Sample Collection and Testing
The selection of a specimen will affect the testing procedures, the window of detection, and the scientific validity and accuracy of the results. Most community-based drug testing procedures rely on a standard urine sample, which can reveal recent drug use. Hair follicle tests offer greater accuracy and a longer detection time (up to 90 days), which makes it difficult for regular drug users to avoid a positive test. An Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) alcohol hair test may also be used, because it detects alcohol consumption over the previous 90 days. EtG can also be tested in urine, but it will only detect up to 72 hours after alcohol consumption.
Specimen collection must occur in a secure location that provides privacy and sanitary conditions. Typically, the donor must present a photo ID beforehand, wash his or hands before entering the room, and leave behind any coats or bags. To prevent drug test tampering, specimen collectors and laboratories will examine the sample and conduct a validity test as well as confirm that the temperature of the specimen is within normal body temperatures, amongst other precautions.
Upon collection, the sample is typically sent to a certified laboratory for testing. Then, a medical review officer (MRO) evaluates the results and delivers the findings.
At Tomo Drug Testing, we provide multiple forms of community-based drug testing (also known as judicial drug testing, court-ordered drug testing, and family-centered drug testing). Two examples of this are treatment courts and child services. Tomo works side-by-side with treatment court teams, providing frequent and randomized testing to ensure program compliance. We also work with courts in cases where a child is in state care, subjecting the family to ongoing drug and alcohol testing.
We can customize the types of drugs we test for depending on the specific jurisdiction’s requirements and/or the panels selected by the program administrators. This includes, but is not limited to, instant devices and laboratory testing. In addition, some courts and family agencies specify the testing protocols they need to fit the particular situation. To ensure that we satisfy their requirements for court-ordered drug testing procedures, we work hard and demonstrate a willingness to learn from the other members of the team.
Courts rely on Tomo for judicial drug testing for many reasons, including all of the following:
- We use certified collectors and trained technicians.
- We provide observed collections with same-sex observers to ensure valid specimens.
- We effectively manage a random scheduling process.
- Our community-based drug testing procedures are more cost-effective and time-efficient than courts doing their own collections.
- We employ strict quality guidelines at every step of the process.
- Our team provides seamless communication with the court or family agency.
- Our testing programs are accurate, reliable, efficient, and confidential.
So if you need assistance with court-ordered drug testing, contact us today. With our corporate office based in Springfield, Missouri, we offer customized solutions to make drug testing simple, and our nationwide network of clinics and providers allows Tomo to be available anytime, anywhere. For a free needs analysis, give us a call today at 1-888-379-7697 or contact us online. We would be happy to help!