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Drug testing is relied upon for court cases to fulfil a legal requirement that an individual is drug-free, or is remaining drug-free. A solicitor may order drug testing to prove their client’s abstinence. Private fee-paying individuals may request drug testing to help further their cause in employment or family proceedings.

Wide variety of drug testing for court cases

There is a wide variety of drug testing that could be used for legal cases and the reports used in court. The choice depends on what substance needs to be detected and in what timescale.

AlphaBiolabs’ legal drug testing options include:

  • Hair
  • Urine
  • Oral fluid
  • Nail clippings

Hair drug testing remains the gold standard for drug testing for court cases. It offers a wide window of detection (up to 12 months), thereby providing a historic overview of drug misuse. If there is sufficient sample, head hair samples can be segmented to provide month-by-month analyses to show a pattern of drug intake. Segmentation is particularly of value in cases where a single administration of a particular drug is suspected. By analysing small segments, a positive hair test could be established in a narrow timeframe. In addition, segmented analysis is useful if you need to obtain a trend in drug use, such as to see a decrease or increase in drug use over time, or to highlight intermittent use. Body hair can also be analysed if there is insufficient head hair; however, this form of testing cannot determine a specific timeframe of drug use. Body hair analysis generally provides up to a 12-month overview.

Both oral fluid and urine drug testing options are useful because they can detect recent drug use and allow for comfortable and non-invasive specimen collection. Urine drug testing is known as a ‘narrow-window’ form of testing as its period of detection is only a few days, although this can depend on the particular substance taken. Most drugs will be flushed out of a body in a matter of days. Drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA can be present in urine for roughly 3–5 days, but cannabis can stay in urine samples for as long as 28 days after chronic use. Similarly, oral fluid testing is quick and produces immediate results. This form of drug testing detects recent drug use from 30–60 minutes after ingestion up to 2 days, although again this can depend on the particular substance taken.

Nail clippings analysis is another useful form of drug testing and is usually requested when there is insufficient hair available. Unlike hair drug testing, nail drug testing won’t give a historic segmented pattern of drug use, but it will give an overview of up to 12 months.

Further information on AlphaBiolabs’ drug testing services and the types of drugs able to be detected can be found here.

How are drug testing samples collected for court cases?

Any drug testing samples must be provided under supervised observation to deter any form of adulteration or tampering. Because legal drug tests need to stand as evidence in court they need to be performed under specific instructions, known as chain of custody. AlphaBiolabs’ trained sample collectors would need to ensure that the correct individual is providing the sample by checking ID, taking photographs and getting signed paperwork.

A medical professional, such as a GP, may also be able to collect the samples and send them securely back to the AlphaBiolabs laboratory for testing. As such, the sample does not leave the custody of those who are legally responsible for ensuring the authenticity of its results.

Legal samples can also be collected for free at our nationwide Walk in Centres.

Whether you are a private individual, a business, a social worker or solicitor, AlphaBiolabs can help you with expert advice on legal drug testing. We also offer interest-free credit options for privately paying customers. Please call 0333 600 1300 or email us at