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Hair Follicle Tests May Produce A False Positive Result

New Jersey couples may opt for a divorce for any number of reasons. If they are parents of young children, child custody issues can arise. In some cases, one parent may seek sole legal and physical custody, claiming that the other parent is unfit due to drug use.

Drug testing is commonly used by employers to screen applicants before they are hired and for random testing during their employment, and testing has also been done in child custody situations. Urine tests are the most commonly used drug tests in the U.S., but hair strand tests are also administered. Hair follicle tests for drug metabolites have been believed to be completely accurate, but a new study has shown this may not always be the case.

The Institute of Forensic Medicine in Freiburg, Germany, has found that a hair follicle test for drugs may give a false positive for cannabis use. The most popular illicit drug in the world is cannabis. In 2014, a large U.S. drug testing company performed several million urine tests and about 210,000 hair follicle tests. These follicle tests may have produced false positives. The research team found that cannabis can be transferred to a non-cannabis smoker through sweat, hands, or airborne smoke even if the person didn’t use the substance themselves.

A false positive result in a child custody dispute could have serious consequences, such as custody denial or court-supervised visitation. An attorney for the parent who was tested could dispute the results while arguing that allowing the client to maintain parental rights would be in the best interests of the child.

Source: Medical Daily, “Hair Follicle Drug Tests Can Lead To A False Positive, Thanks To Secondhand Traces Of Marijuana”, Susan Scutti, Oct. 9, 2015

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