Authorities in Canada investigating the use of a now-discredited drug test have revealed an alarming stat: At least 56 families in Ontario were "broken apart" from 1990 to 2015 largely as a result of the flawed hair testing, and in only four of those cases were children returned to their families, reports the Toronto Star. The revelation comes after a two-year investigation into the now-closed Motherisk Laboratory at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. For years, child welfare officials relied on the lab's testing of hair samples to determine whether parents were abusing alcohol or drugs, but those tests have since been declared scientifically unsound. The investigation focused only on the province of Ontario, meaning the number of families affected throughout Canada is likely much greater, notes the Washington Post.
“The testing was imposed on people who were among the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, with scant regard for due process of their rights to privacy and bodily integrity,” the report by an independent commission states. "Most of the parents who were tested were powerless to resist. They told us that they submitted to the testing under duress, in fear of losing custody of or access to their children." The Star focuses on the case of one Ontario woman whose daughter was taken away in 2011 after a test falsely determined that the mother was drinking heavily. Her 13-year-old daughter finally came home last summer. "She was so tall," says the mother. "I remember her as a little girl." (Read more drug testing stories.)