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Testing for marijuana may result in a false positive

As some Arizona parents have found, child custody and visitation disputes may be complicated by one parent showing positive on a drug test. A study done in Germany reports that false positives are sometimes produced from hair strand tests that show the presence of marijuana. According to the study, those who use cannabis may transfer the metabolites measured in hair testing through marijuana smoke, hands, sweat or sebum. With the numbers of marijuana users estimated at between 125 and 127 million worldwide, it is the most popular illicit drug.

Types of drug testing include testing of the hair, urine, saliva or sweat, although urine testing is the most popular. Data supplied from a testing company shows that it tested over 210,000 hair samples, over 6.5 million urine samples and 800,000 body fluid samples last year around the country.

The company also conducts federally mandated drug testing for over 2 million individuals who work in safety-sensitive areas. It has reported that drug tests resulting in false positive results happened on approximately 210,000 occasions in 2014.

The problem with false positives is that they might adversely affect an individual who has been injured at work and is seeking workers' compensation benefits. A false positive result could also affect a child custody determination if one parent falsely shows up as positive on a drug test. In some cases, it might lead to removal of custody rights or require visitation supervised by the court. As a result, a parent who is going through a parental rights dispute and is concerned that a drug test, if ordered, will come up with a false result may want to discuss this situation with a family law attorney.

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