Many workplaces, either as an internal policy or as compliance to work for a larger Federal entity, such as the Department of Transportation, now have drug testing. This drug testing may be one of the conditions for hiring if a job offer is made, or it may be part of the periodic screening process all employees undertake on the job, to ensure safety for everyone.
One of the most popular types of drug tests now is the hair drug test or hair follicle drug test. There are plenty of reasons for this.
Ease Of Collection
Workplaces and the justice system, such as court-ordered drug tests, or drug tests as part of a probationary program, are all, increasingly, preferring to go with hair drug tests as the means of testing. It’s easy to see why, with one of the big benefits being how easy it is to get a sample. Just 1.5” of hair, the minimum is required, though it’s possible—and sometimes even preferable—to conduct a test with longer samples of 3” or more.
Unlike urine tests, there is no extensive collection technique required or an issue of privacy as the sample is collected. The tester can directly observe—and even collect—the samples required to reduce the chance of cheating or contamination. While some have tried to cheat urine tests by submitting a sample of urine from elsewhere, hair is easy to collect on the spot, and it doesn’t have to be head hair; any hair on the body, from the chest to armpit, will do.
ETG Hair Tests
Another reason that hair testing is popular is that unlike urine testing, an ETG hair test can effectively test for the consumption of alcohol for weeks into the past. Urine tests are generally only good at detecting alcohol consumption within 72-90 hours of consumption. Anything beyond that and the test will come up negative.
However, with ETG hair tests, the period that alcohol metabolites remain present in the hair can be up to 90 days. This makes especially useful for individual testing, where people may be required to stay sober due to probationary requirements, or other programs to stay clean.
This longer “look back period,” combined with many types of drugs that hair can test for, makes it easy to see why hair drug testing is growing in popularity. It’s just easier for everyone.