Queensland Law Society is aware of practitioners reporting doctoring or alteration of drug and alcohol test results in family law proceedings.
The results of drug and alcohol tests often play a significant role in parenting matters in family law, and may ultimately have an impact on the consideration of parenting arrangements.
This means the incentive to attempt to ‘cheat’ the testing system can sometimes be high.
The more traditional methods of attempting to ‘cheat’ the drug and alcohol testing system (for example, a party using fake identification, urine or hair follicle swapping) have been largely overcome through the use of reputable and accredited drug and alcohol testing facilities.
There is now, however, a rise in altering, doctoring, or generating entirely fake test results.
The recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology mean that it has unfortunately never been easier for drug and alcohol test results to be altered or entirely generated at a sophisticated level.
There is very little technological knowledge or skill required to perform such alterations to test results.
It is important family law practitioners are vigilant regarding the manner in which drug and alcohol testing is carried out, including how the test results are provided.
The safest measures for practitioners to be confident that the test results are legitimate and unaltered, is to ensure that:
- An accredited drug and alcohol testing practice has been engaged. Any hair follicle testings should be conducted at an approved laboratory, accredited to conduct hair drug testing to the recognised international standard.
- Chain of custody information regarding the collection of the sample and production of the results should be produced with the test results.
- The test results should be sent directly to each party (or their solicitors) from the testing service provider, rather than to one party first and then from that party to the other. This is the safest measure to ensure the results are not able to be altered.
- If the test results are provided directly by a party, then the testing service provider should be contacted directly to verify the test results.
Matt Hempstead for the QLS Family Law Committee