Q: Can your Sunderland Polygraph Examiner help with my uncle’s alcohol and possible drug abuse problem?

I’m writing in the hope that you may be able to help me. My uncle has always been a drinker but recently he seems to be getting worse. The thing is he isn’t acting like a drunk he seems to be hyperactive and has the worst mood swings. The reason for me wanting advice is that I saw a syringe in his bathroom cupboard and I’m worried he may be taking drugs. I asked him about it and he said he didn’t know where it came from. I know it wasn’t there last week and this has concerned me.

I’ve never taken drugs and my family is against any sort of recreational drugs. Most of them don’t drink at all and would be horrified. If they found out he was injecting drugs they’d disown him. I’m aware that some of his friends have heroin habits but I never thought he’d get involved. If he is taking heroin it hasn’t been for long and I really want to get him some help before it gets out of hand.

I know he has no health reasons for needing syringes, so I’m pretty sure it’s something far more sinister. He does know that I know his friends have habits so if it was one of theirs I’m confident he would tell me. I’ve heard if people are taking drugs the lie detector test may not be able to be performed or the results inconclusive. I really don’t know where to turn. Do you think you can you help?

L. N., Sunderland

Response from Sunderland Polygraph Examiner

Lie detector tests do play a significant role in getting addicts of all types to admit they have a problem.  The first step in solving drug and alcohol addiction is for the addict to acknowledge they are addicted.  This can then lead to them seeking the treatment they require. However, getting them to a test can be difficult especially if they are not ready to seek help.

Many addicts who are at the point of trying to resolve their problem will take a lie detector test since a polygraph examiner is non-judgemental, unbiased and not emotionally involved. Opening up to a stranger often helps.

Pre-test interview

As a Sunderland polygraph examiner I have helped many people take the first step toward overcoming their addictions.  The pre-test interview is an opportunity for an addict to discuss their concerns and go over the questions they will be asked.  This usually takes an hour or more.  During this interview it’s not uncommon for addicts to admit they have a problem.

You are correct in that we cannot conduct a lie detector test when someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  As forensic psychologists we have skills that allow us to identify whether or not someone presents for a test having consumed drugs or alcohol.  In those circumstances we would refuse to conduct a test.

Further discussion

It won’t be easy to get your uncle to attend a polygraph examination.  We can offer some advice as to how you might persuade him. Please call our Free Helpline on 0800 368 8277 to discuss how best to proceed.  Our friendly customer service team will be happy to help.  Mention that you have had you query addressed by the Sunderland polygraph examiner.