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Hair Drug Testing

Hair testing was first adopted by employers as the ‘executive’ level method for employment drug testing. To this day, hair testing has proven its effectiveness and continues to play a vital role in ensuring security and safety within our nation’s workplaces. Hair testing presents many advantages over other types of testing; however, it’s essential to recognize its strengths and limitations. A balanced test methodology approach may best help you accomplish your goals.

Truth Ancestry DNA is your go-to provider for hair drug testing in all areas of the United States; for both individuals and employers. Same-day service is available with a three- to four-business day turnaround for the results of hair drug testing.

How Does Hair Testing Work?

Hair testing is a quick, non-invasive, and pressure-free experience! No worrying about ‘holding it’ or being able to ‘provide a specimen’ when it’s time for the collection, donors visit one of our thousands of collection sites, check in and complete the collection process. 

When someone uses drugs, the drug gets metabolized or absorbed into the user’s bloodstream. Humans have millions of hair follicles throughout the head and body. Each hair follicle has a blood vessel that feeds the growth of the hair strand. The metabolized drugs, after use, are carried from the blood into the hair follicle. Traces of drugs can then be detected within the length of the hair strand.

Hair testing does require removing more than one strand of hair, and for employment drug testing, hair samples cannot be provided from a brush or another unverifiable source - it must be taken directly from the donor’s head or another area of the body. For the analysis to be effective, the collector will obtain, under direct observation, a 100-milligram sample of hair (approximately 90 to 120 strands) cut with scissors, preferably at the crown of the head. The hair strands are cut from as close to the scalp as possible. The collector can remove hairs from different spots on your head to avoid creating a bald spot.

For donors with very little or no head hair, the collector might use body hair, as deemed appropriate, for the test instead.

The collector will then secure the hair-strand sample in foil, completes the chain of custody documentation process, and will prepare the specimen for shipment to a testing laboratory. Since hair samples are obtained under direct observation, in full view of the collector, the process nearly eliminates the likelihood of sample adulteration or specimen substitution.

A hair drug test is nearly impossible to cheat. Even if a donor uses certain shampoos or products that claim to cleanse hair follicles and help you ‘beat the test,’ these products are unlikely to remove the drug metabolites from within the hair strand. As a funny twist to cheating attempts, hair washing helps remove external contaminants, benefiting the hair testing process. Because the sample is often collected in person, it would be incredibly complicated to substitute a hair sample.

Superior Detection Time

When employers consider the different employment drug test methods available, they should focus on what they are trying to accomplish. Is the goal to prevent drug users from entering your workplace, are you trying to detect drug users so you can remove them from your workplace or offer them help with a drug or alcohol problem, or both? Choosing the right test method to meet your goals can be a critical decision.

Employment drug testing methods are not all the same. They each have different detection levels (laboratory cutoff levels) and different detection times - how long after drug use has stopped can the substance be detected in a sample. The window of detection is critical. It includes how soon after someone uses a drug and how long after they stop using can the drug be found.

Hair testing provides the most prolonged detection period when screening for illicit drug use or prescription medication misuse compared to that of urine, blood, sweat, or oral fluid (saliva). Testing via hair will be able to detect a pattern of repeated drug use from approximately a week after the last use up to several months since last use (one week to 90+ days).

Call 888.995.4DNA for more information.

Hair Drug Tests
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