Kate and Pete are a separated de facto couple currently part way through protracted Family Law proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court regarding childrens’ matters. Kate and Pete have three children of their relationship; Rainbow aged 9, Blossom aged 6 and Rain aged 3.
Kate is currently the primary carer of the children and Pete sees the children each second weekend from Friday to Sunday afternoon. Pete is applying for a 50:50 shared care agreement on a week about basis. Kate objects to Pete's application on the grounds that he is not a responsible parent and is a regular drug user of "ice".
Pete makes a counter-allegation against Kate that she is the one using drugs and on weekends without the children she goes out clubbing with her girlfriends and takes illicit drugs.
As a result of the parties allegations against each other, the court orders that the parties must undergo weekly urine drug screen tests until further notice.
Both parties drug tests come back clear for the first six weeks of testing. Kate is shocked, she was sure Pete would get caught out. A mutual friend had only told her last week that Pete had a bender over the weekend while using ice.
Kate becomes convinced that somehow Pete is faking the urine drug tests. She remembers once that Pete told her how easy it was to fake urine drug screens using someone else's urine.
Kate wants more stringent drug testing to be undertaken. What is Kate's best option?
Hair follicle testing.
Hair follicle testing is the most accurate way of testing drug consumption by a human body over a lengthy period of time. There are over 25 drugs that can be tested using a hair sample, and the hair sample that is tested can track drugs back in the system up to 3 months prior.
The Forensic Science Centre of South Australia is the responsible body in SA who undertake the toxicology screening relevant to hair follicle testing.
Hair follicle testing kits are available from the Forensic Science Centre of South Australia for $600 plus GST.
In Kate's matter it may be appropriate for the court to order hair follicle testing for Pete. If this occurs Pete will need to visit his general practitioner who will order the testing kit and undertake the hair sample from him.
A pencil width of twisted hair is cut from the scalp (hair must be at least 1cm long). Bleaching or colouring hair will not effect the testing process. Should head hair not be long enough, the sample can be extracted from other body regions such as pubic, beard or underarm hair.
The costs of such testing are generally borne by the parties themselves, however the court can make other costs orders at their discretion.