Grabbing a test kit and wiping a swab on the wall sounds like the easiest way to tick the meth test box, doesn’t it? On face value DIY tests look like a simpler and cheaper alternative to hiring a qualified meth tester. But trying to do your own testing is false economy; here are four reasons why:

1) FALSE ALARMS AND MISSED POSITIVES

It’s possible, on rare occasions, to get a false positive result due to cleaning agents used on surfaces. More commonly, DIY tests will miss lower-level positive results: they don’t have the same level of sensitivity compared to professional analytical methods. Currently, DIY tests are only required to pick up levels equal to or above 1.05µg per 100cm 2. Conversely, the professional analytical testing is extremely sensitive and shows up residue to a level as low as 0.02µg. The lack of sensitivity of DIY tests means they can also fail to pick up small levels of meth residue, which can then result in a negative reading despite the presence of methamphetamine. Any instant meth screening kit or device must be validated under NZS8510:2017 to comply and you need a report …. make sure you check it has a NZS ISO/IEC 17025 validation certificate from your testing company otherwise you could find it invalidates your insurance policy or future legal claim.

2) A DIY TEST ISN’T QUANTITIVE

To put it in plain English, your DIY test kit won’t give you a number or quantity of how much meth is present. This means that if it does show a positive reading, you’re back to square one with having to use a professional tester, who will then have to do their own indicative analysis before looking at quantitative results. In short, you’re doubling up by paying twice to get the result you need.

3) DIY TESTS HAVE POOR RECOVERY

The small cotton-bud swab in a DIY kit will only absorb a limited amount of residue from a 100cm 2 test patch, simply due to the fact that the surface area of the swab is so small. As a result it may not recover all the meth residue in the test patch area. The methanol-dampened gauze tests that qualified testers use are the professional industry standard across the world.

4) A DIY TEST IS NOT INDEPENDENT

So what? Well, if you’re not an accredited, independent tester then your test result may be worth little more than the paper it’s written on, and if it ever came to a court case, a Tenancy Tribunal case or an insurance claim, the validity of your self-test result will be called into question. There are currently no legal guidelines in place for self-testing and until there are, only qualified testers will be able to provide independent evidence. So, if you don’t want to void your insurance or have problems providing a legally reliable baseline between tenancies, then it’s time to ditch that DIY test kits and get in the meth testing services of a professional. Forensic Meth Services will walk you through the analytical process we use and will provide meth test documentation that will give you peace of mind.