Hair Drug Tests
In comparison to urine testing, hair drug tests are considerably more accurate and can test drug usage over a much longer time period, potentially signaling an individual’s habitual drug use. For that reason, while hair drug screening is a relatively new testing option, it is quickly becoming a popular choice among employers, courts and governmental agencies.
Hair Drug Screening 101:
Accredited Drug testing staff at our drug testing centers will personally collect the hair strands in order to diminish any risk of adulteration, and will test only the first 1-1 ½ inches. This sampling, of approximately 120 strands, can be taken from the head, chest, leg, or armpit and is generally representative of the past three months of growth. Do not bring in pre-cut hair.
When an individual uses drugs, identifiable chemical compounds are deposited into hair follicles. When hair strands grow from the follicles, traces of the drug are embedded within the inner strand. Because hair drug screening analyzes chemical compounds inside the hair shaft, harsh external chemicals and shampoos have no ability to alter test results. Hair drug tests can detect drug usage within the past 5-90 days and can accurately identify a wide range of substances including marijuana, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine, and amphetamines/ methamphetamines.
Testing results are made available within approximately 1-5 business days of receiving the sample.
Pros & Cons of Hair Drug Screening:
- Detects drug use within the past 3 months
- Observed collection diminishes chances of cheating
- Extremely infrequent or one-time-only drug use will not register
- Extremely recent drug use will not register (within the last 5 days) as the chemicals will not have had time to pass from the hair follicle into the hair strand
- An individual without hair on his head or body, is not eligible to be tested
Hair Drug Test Myth Busters:
- There are currently no FDA-approved hair tests to detect alcohol consumption. For that reason, Accredited Drug Testing does not offer any form of hair testing for alcohol>Urine and breath alcohol testing is available.
- Strong shampoos and the application of harsh external chemicals do not hinder the ability of the test to detect drug usage.
- Secondhand exposure to drug use (smoke) will very rarely register positive on a hair drug test.