FTS Case Study: Testing a 9 year old in family court proceedings.
In a recent case an opinion given by our experts resulted in the immediate removal of a child from his parents.
We were instructed to undertake hair and nail testing on a 9 year old boy for Benzodiazepines, Cannabis, Cocaine, Opiates, Gabapentin, Pregabalin and Methadone over a 6-month period.
Unusually in this case, the parents were initially reluctant to agree to a hair sample being taken and, at the initial collection we were only able to obtain a nail sample.
Following the collection and processing of the sample by our lab, the results were analysed immediately upon receipt by our scientific reporting team.
Unexpected Test Results
The initial results were extremely concerning, showing that the child had been frequently exposed to cocaine, heroin, cannabis and methadone.
Due to the high levels found our team decided to contact the instructing solicitor immediately by telephone so that the child could be kept safe. The contents of this telephone call were confirmed in an emailed statement from our Technical Director, in case any application needed to be made to the Court.
Prior to the completion of our full report, the Local Authority issued an urgent application to the Court and ensured that the child was placed away from his parents and to ensure his immediate safety.
From the quote being accepted to the Local Authority being informed of the results only four days had passed and without our immediate intervention the child would have remained living in an unsafe environment.
When the appropriate test profile is used and results interpreted in context with key factors (in particular methadone levels, hair treatments and wash ratios), FTS come to a very different conclusion from other laboratories despite the analysis finding relatively the same levels in the hair, leading to a different decision. Cost should not compromise the thoroughness of the investigation and testing.