Probation Drug Tests—What You Need To Know

Have you been placed on probation? If so, then you will likely be required to take part in a probation drug test. Not sure what this entails? That’s okay—in today’s blog, we at Affordable Evaluations would like to answer these questions and hopefully shine some light on probation drug testing.

Probation Drug Test

Probation drug tests began in the 1960s as a treatment program to help and monitor heroin users. When trying to set conditions for release, judicial officers found that issues related to drug abuse and dependency were extremely pertinent—not just for heroin users but also for others in the court system. In the years following, this drug testing protocol was incorporated into pretrial programs, becoming a regular part of probation programs across the country.

Although court-ordered substance abuse evaluations vary from state to state, the terms and conditions are almost always dictated by the court and probation officers. This means that, when on probation, your compliance, trust, and respect are crucial to determining how often your probation office will test you. If, for example, they are suspicious and feel that you cannot be trusted, you may be asked to take a test every meeting.

What Type of Tests Will Be Required?

Depending on the offense and severity of punishment, court-ordered probation or drug tests will vary. However, usually, probation drug testing is random and includes anywhere from 5 to 12 panels. Below are the two most common:

  • Standard 5 Panel—tests for cocaine, marijuana, PCP, amphetamines, and opiates.
  • Standard 10 Panel—tests for cocaine, marijuana, PCP, amphetamines, opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, & Quaaludes.

For probation drug testing, an alcohol evaluation is usually added to the above list. Expanded opiates testing can also be added to any of the above panels. This type of extension generally tests for hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, Hycodan), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), oxycodone (Endocet, Endodan, Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin, OxyFast, OxyIR, Roxicet, Tylox), and oxymorphone (Numorphan).

While most probation officers will require random urine drug testing, some may opt instead for a hair follicle test—because they are even harder to beat and are able to detect drug use over a longer period of time. Below is some general information regarding both types of drug evaluations.

Urine Drug Testing

Urine drug tests are the most affordable and effective for drug testing. As long as the test is properly administered, drug consumption can be detected almost immediately, and it is nearly impossible to cheat the test.

How Do Urine Tests Work?

After you consume a drug, the body quickly metabolizes it. Naturally, these metabolites along with the drug itself are excreted from the body and can be found in your urine. Once a urine sample is taken the traces of the drug can easily be identified. However, while these are extremely effective at detecting recent drug use, most drugs—apart from marijuana—pass through the body in just a few days, making the test somewhat limited in its range. The time it takes for a drug to leave your system can vary from person to person and is largely dependent upon factors like metabolism, type of drugs used, and amount of fluid consumed.

Hair Follicle Testing

Hair follicle tests are toxicology evaluations that can determine whether or not an individual has consumed drugs in the past 90 days—however, typically drugs taken within two to four days of the test are not registered. Because of this longer detection period, this method is becoming increasingly popular among both employers and the court system.

How Do Hair Follicle Tests Work?

When you consume a drug, your body begins to metabolize it. The drug, along with the metabolites, begin to circulate through your blood system. Since blood is an essential and nourishing component of hair follicles, the drug and metabolites get deposited on the hair follicles. After roughly a week, the evidence of the drug is attached to the hair and can be identified in a drug test. Although the name implies the follicle is the part of the hair that is tested, it is actually only the first inch to an inch and a half that is tested. Naturally, this creates a problem for those with short or no hair—which is one of the big downsides of the test. However, other body hair can be used in such cases.

Your probation officer should guide you through the process and be able to tell you specifically what types of drug and alcohol screenings are necessary. Also, it is important to remember that if you have been placed on probation, the court has put their faith and trust in the belief that you deserve a second chance. Regardless of how you ended up on probation, it is important that you cease any and all drug use and prohibited activities. The duty and goal of probation officers is to ensure that you are adhering to all court orders. They are not out to get you, but help you—don’t forget this. And don’t forget that if you fail a probation drug test, the ramifications can be severe, and the odds of being thrown in jail are quite high.

Who Can Benefit from a Drug or Alcohol Assessment from Affordable Evaluations

Court-ordered, probation drug testing is one of our specialties at Affordable Evaluations. Even if you live in Texas, but need an alcohol and drug evaluation from another state. This is something we are authorized to perform. Our head of testing services, Tammy Samour, is nationally certified and licensed to conduct drug tests to meet the requirements of virtually any agency.

We can perform evaluations for the following organizations:

  • Drug test for child custody cases
  • Drug tests for child protective agencies
  • Drug tests for divorce cases
  • Drug tests per attorney’s orders
  • Drug tests required by a court from another state (Out-of-State-Services)
  • And more!

We have performed thousands of evaluations, and we take tremendous pride in our execution, accuracy, and professionalism. When you come to use in need of an evaluation, you can be 100 percent confident that we will send your accurate information to your probation or court officer. Learn more about our evaluations and contact us today to get started.

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