Friday, December 14, 2012


Alcohol and other drug use are often contributing factors to child
maltreatment. Consequently, there may be times in which drug/alcohol
testing for parents is necessary to ensure appropriate interventions are
provided and are effectively managing safety and risk conditions. Situations
in which drug and/or alcohol testing are appropriate include:
As one component of a comprehensive family assessment to identify or to
eliminate substance abuse as a contributing factor to maltreatment when
there are indicators of substance use;
To assist a parent in their readiness for treatment interventions;
When substance abuse is a contributing factor in maltreatment and the
parent is not participating in a substance abuse treatment program; and
To deter and monitor client substance use, as well as provide a positive
reinforcement for clients in early recovery.
Situations in which drug testing is not appropriate include:
The client is an active participant in a substance abuse treatment
program in which frequent, random screening is completed/required as a
component of treatment; and
The client informs the case manager and/or treatment provider of a
relapse. In this circumstance an assessment of safety and risk in the
context of the child’s well being should be conducted.
Assessment of the current patterns of drug use by the parent, and necessity of
a treatment intervention or alternative intervention should also be considered.
Drug testing should not be used punitively! Drug screening and the results of
such screening should be only one component in the identification of safety
threats, strengths, protective capacities and needs of families. The CPS
Specialist should never use a positive test result to cancel visitation unless
there are significant safety factors. ACY-1173GFORNA (10-07)
Types of Testing
Child Protective Services Specialists utilize an array of drug tests to assist in
the identification of substance use including urine, oral fluid and hair. CPS
Specialists should be familiar with various options available in addition to
the strengths and limitations of these tests in order to select the most
appropriate method. In addition, consultation with substance abuse
treatment providers can assist CPS Specialists in selecting the most
appropriate method.
Urine: Urine is the most widely used and well researched biological
specimen for the detection of drugs in adults, older children and youth. The
majority of illicit drugs are excreted from urine within about 48 hours of use
with the exception of alcohol which has a twelve hour window of detection.
Frequent multiple use can result in an extended detection period for some
drugs. Specimens can easily be tampered, replaced or adulterated therefore
supervised collection is recommended.
Hair: The use of hair as a method of drug detection has become more
common in recent years. Advantages of hair analysis include that it can
detect exposure to drugs over a period of time, up to several months, thus,
has the widest window of detection; it can pinpoint changes in patterns of
drug use; it is difficult to substitute or invalidate and it is a non-invasive
sampling method. Several disadvantages include the inability to detect
recent use (within the last 5-7 days) or single use and differences in hair
structure, porosity, use of hair color products and external contamination
have been identified in some of the literature as impacting the accuracy of
the results.
Oral fluid: Oral fluid is a newer technology. The strengths of oral fluid
testing include the ease of administration, the high concentrations of drugs
in oral fluid allow for confident drug identification in very recent use – even
the same day, and testing is a noninvasive sampling method. Additionally,
studies have demonstrated clinically useful levels of accuracy; however
caution is advised as it has been found that some commercial products are
more reliable than others. Oral fluid may be a good alternative to urine
testing if it is suspected the client is under the influence.
Timing is a critical factor in drug and alcohol screening. The amount of time
a particular drug remains in the body depends on how much of the drug
was taken, as well as the metabolism of the individual. All DES contracted
labs use the same established levels, or thresholds, to determine if the
presence of particular metabolite is found in the specimen. Levels that occur
under the cut off or threshold are considered negative.
Bennies, speed, black beauties
Crank, crystal, glass, ice, meth
Barbs, reds, yellow jackets, phennies
Downers, tranks, candy
Cannabis (THC/marijuana)
Grass, pot, reefer, weed
Blow, coke, crack, rock
Codeine (Opiate)
Cody, schoolboy, loads
Morphine (Opiate)
M, Miss Emma, monkey
Heroin (Opiate)
Horse, junk, smack, white horse
LSD (hallucinogens)
Acid, cubes, boomers
PCP (Phencyclidine)
Angel dust, boat, hog
10-12 hours
2 to 4 days
2 to 5 days
2 to 3 days
1 to 5 weeks
1-30 days
1 to 3 days
2 to 4 days
2 to 3 days
2 to 3 days
2 to 24 hours
5 to 60 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
up to 90 days
Up to 24 hours
1-48 hours
1-48 hours
up to 24 hours
1-36 hours
1-36 hours
1-36 hours
1-36 hours
Equal Opportunity Employer/Program Under Titles VI and VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI & VII), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990 (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age
Discrimination Act of 1975, the Department prohibits discrimination in
admissions, programs, services, activities, or employment based on race,
color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability. The Department must
make a reasonable accommodation to allow a person with a disability to
take part in a program, service or activity. For example, this means if
necessary, the Department must provide sign language interpreters for people
who are deaf, a wheelchair accessible location, or enlarged print materials. It
also means that the Department will take any other reasonable action that
allows you to take part in and understand a program or activity, including
making reasonable changes to an activity. If you believe that you will not be
able to understand or take part in a program or activity because of your
disability, please let us know of your disability needs in advance if at all
possible. To request this document in alternative format or for further
information about this policy, call 602-542-8247; TTY/TDD Services: 7-1-1.
The following are general guidelines one may expect related to detection
period to assist in choosing the correct test for adults: