When requesting a quote from a laboratory, Family Lawyers should also take the opportunity to
conduct a short interview of their own. Not all drug and alcohol testing laboratories are the
same and the approach each laboratory takes in the testing process can have a significant
impact on the legitimacy of the results and whether they will hold up as evidence in court.
For example, you can be more confident that a laboratory with long-term experience with hair
testing is more likely to produce accurate results compared to a laboratory with significantly
Similarly, a laboratory with ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for each of the drugs that you wish to
test for is more likely to produce reliable and accurate results. Essentially, laboratories with
ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation demonstrate competence, impartiality and validity in their testing
procedure for the particular drugs they hold accreditation for.
Proficiency testing is another way to assess the accuracy of a laboratory’s testing procedure.
Essentially, a proficiency test provider will supply the laboratory with a sample and the
laboratory will analyse it and provide a report. Proficiency schemes help laboratories to identify
areas of weakness in their testing methodology and where they can improve. Ideally, you would
like to see a laboratory participating in a proficiency scheme and produce accurate results upon
each proficiency test they complete.
Finally, an important question to ask a laboratory is whether any of their tests have ever been
challenged in court. If a laboratory answers ‘yes’, then you need to consider whether this
laboratory is qualified to conduct the hair drug test, as there is a distinct possibility that the
results they produce in your case may be questioned in court.