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Detecting Drugs Use with the Hair Strand Drugs Test

Basic Facts Regarding Hair Drug Screening


When it comes to testing for drug use in legal cases, a hair test will often be used by a solicitors legal team. For those who are not familiar with hair screening, it is an examination which identifies specific drugs used by a person by testing a small sample of their hair. When the drugs has been ingested and processed by the human body, metabolites are produced and are inserted into hair follicles and are detected by the hair strand drug test. Normally, such a test goes back to a period of approximately ninety days which means that even if the person being tested used a specific drug three months ago, it can still be detected by the test. The five drug classes for which a hair strand drug test can be conducted are:


1. Opiates

2. Cocaine

3. Marijuana

4. Methamphetamine

5. Phencyclidine


Hair follicle testing has proven to be far more effective than the urinalysis drug test for all of the drugs. This is because these drugs are normally out of the bloodstream within three to seven days and are not easily detected by the urinalysis drug test. The metabolites of these drugs however remain in the hair follicles and can be detected by the hair follicle test even after the drug is no longer in the blood stream. 


Basic Facts Regarding the Hair Sample


When conducting a hair follicle test, a hair sample is needed. The hair sample is normally cut as close to the scalp as possible and the most recent 1.5 inches of the hair is tested. Approximately 40+ milligrams of hair is needed for the test. This is approximately fifty to seventy strands of hair which are approximately 1.5 inches in length. In addition, the pigment color and thickness of the hair will determine the exact quantity needed. 


So what happens if someone is bald and have no hair on their head? Can hair from other locations be used for the test? Yes, body hair collected from other parts of the body except for the pubic areas can be drug tested. Hair on the body grows considerably slower than hair from the head which means that this hair can be used to detect drug use for a longer period of time other than the default period of ninety days. 


It is important to note that bleaching the hair can result in the removal of 40-80% of the metabolites found in the hair strand. This is because bleaching cracks and damages the hair strands and thus removes the metabolites of the hair. In such cases, it does not make sense to conduct a hair strand test. Instead, a fingernail test or a urine test can be conducted. 


Two Main Uses for a Hair Strand Test


Drug use in the office normally result in increased absenteeism, increased accidents and lower productivity. Hair strand tests are perfect to screen out applicants and employees who are using and abusing drugs so that the company and the other employees can be protected from the negative impacts of drugs use.

Parental Substance Misuse 

In child protection cases which involve parental substance misuse, hair strand testing can be quite effective in identifying if the parents are actually abusing drugs as parents who are abusing drugs may be putting their children at risk. 

Benefits of a Hair Strand Test


Below are some of the benefits of a hair strand test.


Longer Windows of Detection


Studies have shown that hair testing detects almost twice the number of positive results compare to the urine test. This is because it detects drug use for up to ninety days while the urine test detects drug use for up to a few days. 


Convenient and Tamper Resistant


Hair testing is convenient because it does not invade your privacy and it is not easy to tamper with the sample. The sample is collected under direct supervision. The same cannot be said for a urine sample.


Fast and Reliable


The test results are normally available within 24 hours. If the results are positive, they undergo confirmatory testing which may need an additional 24 to 72 hours. 


If you are responsible for conducting a hair strand drugs test, you should be aware that there are a few ways of beating the test. Some people might appear with no hair. They might shave it all off so be prepared to conduct another type of test. Others might come with bleached hair while others may use detox shampoos or mud cleansers just before conducting the test in an attempt to remove the drugs from the hair strand. Where necessary, conduct the test twice just to be sure of the outcome and where necessary conduct a fingernail test or a urine test. 


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A Healthy Child is a Happy Child. Join our Volunteer Support Force today!
A Healthy Child is a Happy Child. Join our Volunteer Support Force today!
A Healthy Child is a Happy Child. Join our Volunteer Support Force today!