Drug Screening in West Virginia Courts

Courts use drug screening as a tool to determine if you are a drug user.

If a family court judge in a child abuse/neglect case or any other family court case suspects that your ability to care for your child in a safe manner has been impaired by drug use, he may order you to undergo drug screening.

Drug screening may be a condition of probation in criminal and juvenile cases.

I Have Been Ordered to Undergo Drug Screening. What do I do?

Get the drug screening as directed by the court order. Talk with an attorney, if you have one, about what to do next. It makes you look like you’re hiding something if you refuse or skip a drug screen. The judge may assume you would have tested positive and consider it that way when making his decisions.

Also, don’t try to cheat on the test. Probation officers and court judges and other officials know all the ways people cheat, and they are aware that many people try. They’ll know you cheated and it will only hurt you and your family in the end.

How Does This Drug Screening Thing Work?

An officer of the court will usually explain to you how the sample will be collected. Generally, it’s either a urine sample or a mouth swipe. The officer will explain what happens if you tamper with the sample or refuse to give it. If you are taking any prescription medications at the time of your screen, they will be documented at that time, and the court will verify them with your doctor.

If you can’t afford to pay for the screening and have a financial affidavit on file and approved, the charge for the screening is usually waived. Otherwise, there will be a charge of somewhere between $9 and $40. The amount of the charge is based on the type of drugs screened and the number of them. You will pay the fee to the circuit clerk.

My Drug Screen was Positive. What Happens Now?

Even though continuing to use drugs will have serious consequences, it does not have to be the end of the world for you. The choices you make next will determine what happens.

This is a good opportunity for you to get help if you are addicted to drugs and struggling to overcome it. The court does not want to be the bad guy and come down on you. It simply wants you to be a safe and healthy member of your family and community.

Do You Need Help?

You’re not alone in this. Reach out to your lawyer, a probation officer, your child’s guardian ad litem, or someone else you trust about treatment for your addiction.


W. Va. Child and Adult Protective Services Hotline 1-800-352-6513

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Covenant House “9-line” for teens 1-800-999-9999

Narcotics Anonymous Meetings or (Northern Panhandle)

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Referral Line 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

National Human Trafficking Resource Center 1-888-373-7888

National Runaway Hotline 1-800-621-4000

Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

The WV Help mobile app (iPhone and Android), developed by the Children’s Justice Task Force of West Virginia, gives local resources and phone numbers to victims dealing with abuse, violence, or crime.

Signs of drug addiction or problem:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Paranoia
  • Withdrawn, silent behavior
  • Increase in fights and arguments
  • No longer interested in usual activities
  • Slurred speech, tremors, or shakes
  • Personal grooming/hygiene is deteriorated
  • Change in sleep habits or appetite
  • Taking more of a medication than what the doctor prescribed
  • Hyperactivity
  • Abrupt mood changes
  • Money problems
  • Relationship changes
  • Work or school attendance/performance drops
  • Unusual accidents or injuries
  • Losing or gaining weight suddenly
  • Frequent nosebleeds

(Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence)

The Effects of Drugs on Children

Growing up in a household where drugs are used, or using them themselves, often has a devastating effect on kids. Human brains do not mature until a person is in their mid-20’s, so traumas experienced in childhood and substance abuse can permanently change the function of the brain. Children who grow up with drugs in the house can experience abandonment, fear, neglect, embarrassment, abuse, anxiety, concern, guilt, and other responses that are unhealthy.

For more information or a free consultation, call Sean Logue and his associates at Logue Law: (412) 612-2210 or (412) 612-2210. Or, you may contact us online. Logue Law Group serves the Pittsburgh, PA area, West Virginia, and Ohio.