Substance and drug abuse issues are especially impactful in your divorce, as it is one of the determining factors the Court takes into consideration in awarding Child Custody and Parenting Time. A parent who suspects substance and drug abuse by the other parent historically has relied upon the Court to initiate substance abuse testing through Court approved programs. However, what does a spouse do when they believe the other spouse is abusing prescription drug medications? Can the Courts standardized testing detect this abuse? How do you handle Prescription Drug Abuse and divorce?
There are no clear or easy answers to the above questions. Courts, and indeed the medical community, have long recognized the dangerous and costly impact of prescription medication addiction, yet proving this addiction exists is not an easy task. This is because addictions to prescription medications are not as identifiable as addictions to illegal substances. Simply put, when a party is ordered to undergo a random hair follicle and/or urinalysis test, illicit substances are easily identifiable, however prescription medication is quite the opposite as most abusers have valid prescriptions by medical professionals. This makes it almost impossible for a Court to make a determination of abuse.
While standardized substance abuse testing cannot accurately determine whether a person has been abusing their medications, it is important to note that there are additional testing and/or treatment options that can be requested through the Court. A party who suspects prescription medication abuse can, and should, contemporaneously with their request for the standardized substance abuse testing, request that the opposing party either terminate the use of any and all narcotic containing medications to accurately determine whether abuse is occurring, or seek the assistance of an addiction specialist who can conduct specific blood testing to determine abuse. These additional tests are not widely known throughout the Court system and as such, specific requests are necessary. In addition, if you believe the other party has been engaging in “doctor shopping” to attain their prescriptions, pharmacy records can be obtained through the use of HIPPA release requests and/or filing the appropriate motions to the Court.
If you believe your child’s parent is abusing prescription medication, consulting with an experienced attorney is paramount. The Cantor Law Group offers free consultations where one of our experienced attorneys will discuss your specific matter and provide valuable information and support. Feel free to call today at 602-254-8880 to talk with us about your case.
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