Hair Drug Tests Basics

Hair Drug Tests Basics

Using opiates hasn’t been a taboo for a long time, but testing on drugs is something that still scares many people. Many companies, schools, and state institutions are conducting regular testing on opiate use. They can request this from employees, students, job or scholarship candidates, etc. Or, if an accident has occurred or the test result is required as evidence, a drug test may be requested by the court or the police.

Every company or institution can schedule the testing any time they want. But ever person has the right to keep their privacy and not to accept testing. No one can force you, but in that case, you are at risk of being suspicious. You can even have certain sanctions or penalties for denying the examination.

If you know that your employer conduct random drug testing from time to time, find out what your rights are:

Types of Drug Test

There are several types of other tests, but not all are equally represented. The most common tests are those where the collection of samples is not complicated and which don’t require high costs. It works for employers and schools, but also for everyone worried about parents, kids, or partners using illegal substances.

Urine and hair drug tests are used frequently, while the swab drug test is not among ‘favorites,’ because of the inaccuracy of the results. In some cases like car accidents or some hard violation of rules, some higher instance can ask for detailed testing, and this is possible only from blood samples.

A hair drug test may not be used often as a urine drug test, but it has one significant advantage. While the urinalysis reveals only the presence of toxic substances, the hair follicle test may indicate the long-term use of opiates.

Hair has the ability to ‘keep’ toxins for almost 3 months (check here how long the toxins stay in other samples), until they completely vanish. Unless you are shaving your head on a regular basis. This period refers both on light and heavy opiates if they are used everyday.

Providing of Hair Sample

As the name says, your hair is a sample for this type of drug test. If you don’t have hair on your head, any hair from your body can be used for sampling. That’s why someone who’s shaved from head to toe can be suspicious as sampling can’t be done.

Depending on where you going to do testing, you can provide the sample all by yourself or the lab technicians will do that. If your school or employerscheduled drug testing in a lab or hospital, the trained staff will take your scalp off.

 In the case of testing at work or school, candidates will get special kits for providing samples. Then, they have to send these materials to labs for further examination. In both cases, collecting of specimens is supervised.

The sample is one strand of your hair, which can be taken from several different places. The strand should have around a hundred hairs. The relevant ones should be at least half of inch long. A short hair cannot be a good sample, as it takes about a week for toxins to get into the hair follicles. Finally, you have to store hairs in special bags, then in envelopes, and send it to the lab for testing.

You can do regular care and hair hygiene without problems, even on the day of the test (this is especially important for women). Not a single product or chemical used for washing, dyeing or making a hairstyle can affect the results of a hair test.

Results Turnaround

The speed of getting the results could possibly be marked as a disadvantage of the hair drug test. Its use is not suitable in situations requiring immediate results, for example, when inspecting a car accident. But it’s fine for companies conducting regular testing of their employees.

If the result of the presence of opiates is negative, this can usually be seen after 24 hours. This is the time span from the moment the sample arrives at the laboratory. Positive results will pass additional testing, in order to reduce the possibility of error. It extends the turnaround up to three days.

Advantages of Hair Drug Test

Our organism will eliminate most toxins through body fluids. Urine drug test, which is used in most candidates (it is easy to perform, and it brings results in short notice), is effective only within 72 hours. A test using a hair sample covers a period of several months, which may indicate the continued use of narcotics.

Another advantage of a hair test among other drug tests is that a few days of abstinence can’t eliminate the traces of opiates from the hair. Thus, the likelihood of false results is minimal. However, by combining the tests or by additional blood testing, the most accurate results are obtained.

Some other advantages of a hair test are non-invasive and easy sampling, but also a small chance of faking the test results. But, according to the Drug Testing Reviews article on detox shampoo, some products on the market that can currently hide the presence of toxins and thus enable the drug user to fool a hair drug test.

When Hair Drug Test Is Not Reliable

The hair drug test may reveal chronic use of narcotics, but only if you have used them during the previous 3 months. If you’ve been ‘clean’ for some time, the test result will be negative. However, any additional doubt in the results should be checked using another sample.

Medical experts claim that some types of drugs can affect the accuracy of the test. It is possible to confirm the presence of illegal substances due to the use of certain medicines that are medically approved, such as painkillers. For most of these medicines, you’ll need a prescription. Make sure to bring it with you when you go on a hair drug test, to avoid confusion because of false positive results.


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