Creating Drug & Alcohol Testing Agreements
In Divorce & Child Custody Situations

When drug or alcohol abuse is alleged in a divorce situation involving children, demands for testing are usually made as part of any divorce and custody agreement. Crafting a solid agreement regarding drug and alcohol testing for divorcing parents is critical to the safety and well being of the child(ren) and provides peace of mind and a level playing field for the parents.


In order to be effective, the agreement should cover the following seven criteria:

  1. Frequency of testing
  2. Notification for testing
  3. Specimen type to be tested
  4. Drugs to be tested
  5. Reporting results
  6. Consequences of a positive result
  7. Payment responsibilities

Frequency of testing:

Your agreement should include guidance as to how often testing will be conducted. Frequency of testing can be established in a variety of ways including:

  • Scheduled Testing (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly)
  • Random Testing (random notification by third party)
  • Pre-Custody
  • Post-Custody
  • On Demand


Notification for testing:

The agreement should clearly state how the party to be tested will be notified. It should also state how long they have to present for the testing requested – typically same day. To avoid parties claiming that they were not notified properly, using a third party such as Carolina Testing or an attorney to make notification is highly recommended. Carolina Testing notifies parties by phone, email and text message alerting them to the testing request and requirements.


Specimen type to be tested:

What specimen types can be tested? This should be included in the agreement and should include all available specimen types: urine, hair follicle, saliva, breath (alcohol), blood

Urine and saliva tests can detect recent usage. Urine testing should specify whether the collection is to be observed or unobserved. Hair follicle tests can detect use up to 90 days for drugs and alcohol. Breath alcohol testing can detect current impairment while blood PETH tests can detect 3 weeks of use.


Drugs to be tested:

This section of the agreement should not limit the drugs that can be tested as a user may opt for drugs that are not being tested in order to attempt to avoid testing positive. Drug testing panels today can include a wide variety of drugs and substances of abuse depending on your needs.   A simple 5 panel drug test to a comprehensive drug detection test can be ordered as long as there are no limitations listed in the agreement.


Reporting results:

Typically, both parties should receive the results at the same time. Attorneys of record may also be selected to receive results as well as the court if required. The agreement should require that authorization to release results to all parties must be provided by the person required to test. Failure to provide such authorization would be equivalent to a positive drug test.


This section should also address whether the lab test results will be reviewed by a Medical Review Officer or if the results will be required direct from the laboratory.   A medical review of laboratory results may negate a positive laboratory result if the donor has a prescription for the drug in question. It is our recommendation that this type of testing be completed without medical review and that the results be reported direct from the laboratory.


Consequences of a positive result:

This section should clearly articulate what happens in the event that a person tests positive. Visitation may be suspended for 30 days, may require supervision, be revoked or any other consequences that the parties may agree to. Additional consequences may require mandatory counseling, therapy, treatment, etc.


Payment responsibilities:

The agreement should clearly state the payment arrangements for testing. Common scenarios for payment include:

  • The person taking the test pays
  • The person requesting the test pays
  • Test costs shared equally
  • The person requesting the test pays, but will be reimbursed if the result is positive.



Carolina Testing is frequently contacted by lawyers and divorcing parents to advise on how best to establish a drug and/or alcohol testing program for all parties involved. This article is to assist attorneys and parents in understanding the key elements that need to be built into drug and alcohol testing agreements in divorce and custody related cases to provide fair and equitable testing for all involved. If we can be of further assistance in this matter, please CONTACT US anytime.


Cocaine Use on the Rise Again

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports overdose-related deaths from cocaine is second only to opioids. However, cocaine’s toll on the general public receives little attention. This is largely due to the lack of remedies for the person addicted to the drug. Unlike opioids, there is no naloxone (narcan), a medication designed to rapidly reverse an overdose, or methadone or suboxone, which help people stop using heroin. For those suffering from a cocaine-fueled substance-use disorder, current options include behavioral therapies and experimental, incentive-based, therapy called contingency management.


Cocaine and the American workforce

Cocaine, classified as a Schedule II drug, is a powerfully addictive substance with a high potential for abuse, potentially leading to severe psychological dependence. Cocaine provides users with a stimulating and energetic high with burst of energy followed by significant crashes in energy levels. According to research from NIDA, adults between the ages of 18-25 years old (approximately 1.2 million people) have a higher rate of cocaine use than any other age group. Employers should be concerned because this age range represents a large portion of new-to-the-workforce employees.



According to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) the positivity rate in urine testing for cocaine has increased for four straight years in the general U.S. workforce. In the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce, cocaine use has increased for two consecutive years. Drug tests indicating cocaine use increased 12% in 2016, reaching a seven-year high in the general U.S. workforce, and 7% among federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers.

DTI statistics reveal the ongoing threat to workplace safety posed by substance abuse. While most drug related dialogue addresses marijuana and opiate issues, cocaine, a substance with well-established dangers, continues its upward trends in use in the workforce.


To learn more about creating, implementing and managing a substance free workplace, contact us today!

The Federal Department of Labor reports the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol in the workplace cause more than 65 percent of accidents in the workplace. Drug testing programs are a proven deterrent to combat drug and alcohol use in the workplace, helping companies reduce work related accidents, injuries and insurance claims as a result of said accidents. An effective drug policy also sends a clear message about the company’s commitment to a safe and healthy workforce.

While many companies conduct pre-employment screening for drugs before hiring, they often neglect other important elements of an effective substance free workplace program. Tools such as random testing, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident testing provide a comprehensive program to insure the safety and well being of the workplace. In today’s article, we will address random testing.

Random Drug & Alcohol Testing

Random testing, if implemented and managed properly, is an effective deterrent of substance use and abuse by employees. Without a random testing program, the ability to identify potential issues before they become major problems or costly incidents is severely limited. The key to an effective random testing program all comes down to management and implementation of the program itself. While having a random testing program does not provide any ironclad guarantees, it does increase the likelihood of identifying employees with substance abuse issues and may deter substance users and abusers from applying in the first place.

Using the services of a neutral third party (often referred to as a Third Party Administrator or TPA) to manage the program and selection process is a great option for companies. It protects the company from any claims of impropriety, discrimination or targeting by a disgruntled employee in that the company has absolutely no control over the process or actual selections. Companies like Carolina Drug & Alcohol Testing are TPAs that manage random testing programs for companies of all sizes and industries nationwide. Random selections are made via scientifically valid method through the use of computer based random number generators. Employee listings are managed and updated prior to the selections being generated and submitted to the company. Once the selections are received by the company representative or supervisor, they are then able to send employees for testing during the selection period designated.

A common mistake often found with companies that do random testing is that they announce the test ahead of time or give the employee days or even weeks to get the test done. This completely defeats the purpose of having a random testing program as it allows the employee time to attempt to flush their system, obtain adulterants or prepare to “cheat the test.” Random testing should always be done immediately upon notification. Notification of a random selection should only be given to the employee when the employee is able to immediately report to the collection site for the drug test. Collection sites can vary depending on the company and type of specimen being collected for the test. drug-test-2Employees may be asked to report to a drug and alcohol testing clinic or there may be a collector that comes to the company to perform the collection on site.

Another common mistake made by supervisors and business owners is confusing random testing with reasonable suspicion testing which could open a company up to legal issues and liability. Random testing is just that – random. An employee is chosen randomly and sent for testing – not based on any suspicion, rumors or assumptions. Random selections must be made by scientifically valid method in order to avoid any liability on the part of the employer. If you have reason to believe an employee may be using or abusing drugs or alcohol, you may be able to send them for a “reasonable suspicion” test which we will discuss in our next article.

Education regarding drug and alcohol use and abuse is a critical part of any substance free workplace program; providing employees the information they need to know about the policy as well as the information needed to get help with current use or abuse issues. Employee education programs should provide company-specific information such as the details of the company’s policy. Education should also provide details regarding the nature of drug or alcohol addiction; its impact on work performance, health, and personal life. All employees should have access to this information and it should be available on an ongoing basis through a variety of methods.