Social services drug testing

Social services drug testing

When it comes to child protection, accurate (and rapid) drug testing is often relied upon to help decision making. Cases may involve one or both parents with drug addiction issues. As such, it is important to understand the level and pattern of drug misuse to help assess the risk to the child. The child may ultimately need moving to a place of safety. Alternatively, treatment for dependence issues can be initiated to hopefully reduce the impact on the family unit.

A social worker needs to be confident that any decisions made are backed by scientific evidence. AlphaBiolabs offers a wide variety of legal drug tests to choose from depending on the required timescale of assessment and what drugs need testing for. We have a variety of testing methods to establish both short-term and historic drug use. A dedicated account manager will be able to advise you on which test is right for your case, saving you time and money.

Instant drug tests

Urine drug testing is used to determine whether someone is misusing drugs by taking a sample of their urine and analysing it for particular substances. This test gives a short-term measure of drug use (around 3 days but could be up to 28 days for Cannabis). Social workers regularly use our urine pots on site as they are ideal for testing to give an immediate result.

Oral fluid drug testing involves analysing a saliva sample for particular substances. This test has a narrower window of detection of 30–60 minutes after ingestion up to 2 days (although this can depend on the particular substance taken).

Both of these testing methods can be particularly useful for on-site testing as an immediate negative result may mean that no further action is necessary. A non-negative result may require confirmation testing from the laboratory in order to determine exactly what substance was taken and in what quantities. As such, instant drug tests are favoured by social workers for point-of-care testing when evaluating child protection issues.

Hair drug testing

Hair drug testing is considered the gold standard in toxicological analyses and permits drug use to be determined over a period of months. Our tests are performed using either scalp (head) or body hair samples. This long-established method can provide a history of drug abuse and is routinely used in family law. It can show whether your client has refrained from taking drugs, and if they have started taking drugs again.

To drug test the hair, the sample is measured and cut into segments according to the requirements of the case. Each segment is analysed separately for the presence of drugs and their metabolites. Combined with an estimate of the growth rate of the hair, this assists in the determination of an individual’s drug use.

Nail drug testing

Nail clipping analysis can provide up to a 6-month overview of drug use and is beneficial when hair drug testing is not possible. Unlike hair drug testing, nail testing won’t give a historic segmented pattern of drug use, but it will give an overview of up to 6 months.

How to enquire about social services drug testing

For expert advice or further information on legal drug testing, please call 0333 600 1300 or email us at

Request a quote for legal drug testing

AlphaBiolabs is an accredited laboratory offering a range of drug testing services.