Benefits of the FTS service

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This is the question that must be answered when substance misuse is suspected in care cases.

There are many good reasons why you should choose FTS as your partner in child care proceedings when drugs or alcohol are suspected in your case:

  • FTS work exclusively in Family and particularly care proceedings and are the only company dedicated to providing you with an answer to this question.
  • FTS have introduced a unique service to ensure you have the best opportunity to obtain a reliable answer to this question. FTS are not just a testing laboratory.
  • FTS provide you with access to free expert advice and consultation at any point during the pre-proceedings or proceedings process, to make sure the correct test profile is used for each specific case so you can get the right answers first time.
  • FTS commit considerable time and resource to each case to gather all the necessary information and evidence required to make a meaningful and reliable interpretation of the test results. There is a lot more to testing than test results.
  • FTS provide a report with a clear and balanced opinion based on the balance of probabilities, whether drugs or alcohol are factor in the case.
  • FTS provide clinics in the court so samples can be collected and interviews conducted immediately following issue of the court order, providing significant time and cost savings.
  • By getting it right first time and obtaining samples immediately, FTS are helping the courts achieve their 26 week deadline.
  • Furthermore, in an increasing number of cases this service has been proven to avoid inconclusive, misleading and wrong results, which would, in many circumstances have lead to a miscarriage of justice.
  • When testing has been deemed necessary, FTS guarantee to provide you with the most cost effective and justifiable use of public funds.

Case study

Instruction issued to request an overview for the last 3 months to establish if the client was using Cocaine.

An alternative laboratory

A hair sample was collected and sent to the laboratory that carried out a hair strand test to cover a 3 month history. The hair sample was cut to a single section of 3cm in length (non-segmented) and tested for cocaine.

Result – Cocaine and cocaine metabolites were not found above the cut-off.

Interpretation - Negative

The laboratory concluded:

“The Negative result indicates that none of the substances for which testing was performed were detected at concentrations equal to or greater than their cut-off levels. The results did not provide evidence of controlled substance use on multiple occasions by client during this approximate 90 day time period”

In fact this testing assessed cocaine use only, not “controlled substances generally” and is therefore misleading. All parties and the court therefore assumed that Drugs were not a factor in this case and would therefore not compromise the parent’s ability to provide a safe environment for the child. This result was to be the determining factor in the decision making process with regards to the child’s residence.

Forensic Testing Service

The matched hair sample and also a urine sample were tested by FTS who carried out a hair strand test and urine test for cocaine and were also instructed to report if any other compounds were identified in the hair that had not been declared. The court order specified this requirement so client consent was obtained.

(FTS do not make a charge for notifying the presence of other compounds, however the specific identity and level of drug found cannot be reported without additional investigations, the cost of which is specified in the report)

The hair sample was cut to 4cm and segmented into 4 x 1cm sections and tested for cocaine.

FTS completed the testing and investigated all factors that could influence the outcome of the test results. No cocaine or any cocaine metabolites were detected in the hair or the urine.

FTS concluded:

These results do not provide any evidence to indicate that client has used cocaine during the 3 to 5 months prior to sampling. However, three other compounds were detected in the hair. Two compounds were present in all four hair segments and one compound was detected in the two recent hair segments. FTS can investigate and report these compounds if instructed to do so and the cost of this work is specified in section 3.01 Recommendations for future testing.”

On further analysis and investigation the presence of Mephedrone and Methylone (Mcat’s) were established at progressively increasing levels in all sections, representing increasing frequency of use over this period. These Mcat’s are powerful stimulants and part of a group of drugs that are closely related to amphetamines. They are sometimes contaminated with other potent and sometimes fatal compounds. Ketamine was also present in the recent two sections, also at increasing levels representing regular use in the recent section. Ketamine is a powerful general anaesthetic, which creates an apparent detachment of the mind from the body and is a widely abused drug.

Clearly both test profiles answered the very specific question; “has the client used cocaine in the last 3 months”.

However, FTS answered the all-important question necessary to make the right decision in this case.

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