Drug use these days is quite common for people. While some use recreational drugs at home, many do have crippling addictions. Some people even do drug to the detriments of themselves, their relationships and even others. That is why drug … Continue reading
Drug testing is the process of checking if a person has ingested illicit drugs and if he or she has it in the system. This works by taking a sample from the person, like urine, blood, or even hair, and … Continue reading
Hair Drug Testing
Your hair growth is fed by your bloodstream, and any ingestion of illicit drugs can be revealed by testing a small sample of your hair. Most hair follicle drug testing methods measure the amount of drug metabolites embedded inside the hair strand shaft. This method is believed to reduce the risk of external contamination as the source of a positive result.
How Accurate is Hair Drug Testing?
Testing hair follicles for the presence of drugs is an effective method for determining if someone is abusing drugs. Hair drug testing, when compared to urine drug testing uncovers more drug use. In fact hair drug testing uncovers up to 8 times more drug abusers than urinalysis does.
To perform the test, a small sample of hair is cut at the scalp. The analysis of that hair sample evaluates the amount of the drug metabolites left behind in the hair shaft.
Hair drug testing is designed to reveal the presence of drug abuse levels that could only occur from taking the drugs, not just being exposed to them. Most tests require that the hair sample be tested at least twice if the presence of drugs is detected, to ensure that a false positive hasn't occurred.
What Drugs Do Hair Drug Tests Detect?
Most hair drug tests screen for five different classes of drugs: Cocaine, Opiates, Marijuana, Amphetamine, and Phencyclidine.
Is Hair Follicle Drug Testing Always Accurate?
It is possible to pass a hair drug test even if you've previously taken drugs. In some cases, hair follicle drug tests may not be capable of detecting THC if the drug's metabolite did not bind with the hair shaft. This can cause the test to return a false negative result.
Additionally, some individuals maintain close shaves on all body hair to avoid being subjected to a hair drug test. It is also possible to achieve a false positive result if you take some over-the-counter medications. There are some substances and shampoos that claim to eliminate, or mask the presence of illicit drugs. Users trying these methods have achieved mixed results depending on the product.
Is Hair Testing More Accurate Than Urine Testing?
Hair drug testing can detect the presence of drugs for a longer time period than urine drug testing can. With urine tests, most drugs cannot be detected if the test is performed more than two or three days after the drug has been used.
Marijuana is the only drug that may be detected for a slightly longer period of time than the typical two to three day period. This is due to the fact that it's stored in your body fat, and slowly "leaks" into your bloodstream over time.
However, for most other drugs, after this time period, drug users can avoid a positive urine test if no drugs have been taken. But with hair drug testing, the standard time limitation for tests is controlled by the length of the donor's hair. Since each half inch of your hair can provide a 30-day history of your use of illicit drugs, it may be prudent to ensure that your hair is as short as possible when a hair drug test is being performed.
Most hair drug tests require that the 1.5 inches of hair be taken to provide a 90-day history of your potential drug use. Results from a hair drug test are usually obtained in one or two days.
Positive results can also offer information on whether a user occasionally uses drugs, is a recreational user, or a heavy user. Hair drug tests are popular when the need for testing requires that the test cover a greater period of time and that the test be less susceptible to tampering.