Australian parents could be asked to take a drug test in order to keep custody of their children.

In Queensland, the Department of Child Safety is bringing in compulsory drug testing for people where there are concerns over the welfare of their children. The state’s government currently asks thousands of parents each year to agree to conditions to prevent their children being taken into care.

These agreements between the state and the parents will now include drug testing to make sure they are not abusing illegal substances. The Queensland State Government introduced the testing in response to the death of a 21-month-old boy whose parents had signed an “intervention with parental agreement” (IPA).

The agreements could also include further testing and treatment as well as other restrictions.

Fears over methamphetamine use

Officials in Australia are particularly concerned about the misuse of Ice – a pure and powerful form of methamphetamine.

Shannon Fentiman, minister for child safety, told the Courier Mail: “(Ice) presents a real challenge to police, health workers and to our child safety officers when it comes to making an assessment about whether or not parents are up to the job of looking after their children. That’s why parents will have to agree to random drug testing as a precondition for entering into an IPA.”

Drug testing can be used in a number of ways, both to identify individuals who have a substance misuse problem and to monitor the progress of people attempting to overcome an addiction. It is often used by social services in the UK if there are concerns that parents may be abusing illegal substances or have an issue with alcohol dependency.

AlphaBiolabs offers a number of drug testing services to local authorities, social workers, courts, organisations and employers. These include random drug testing, abstinence monitoring and testing as part of an investigation.