Hair Testing for Drugs

Last updated on February 26th, 2021 at 12:33 pm

 There is a lot of talk about hair testing for drugs of abuse lately. For non-regulated employers, court orders and personal hair drug testing we see a big increase in orders coming to us over the phone at 866-843-4545 or online at Order a Hair Drug Test. As of January 2021 there is no indication of approved hair testing for DOT regulated tests anytime soon.

Our most popular hair test being ordered is the 12 panel hair drug test. This test will show metabolites of the following drugs: Opiates (Codeine, Morphine & 6-MAM Heroin Metabolite, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Hydromorphone), barbiturates, benzodiazepines, propoxyphene, methadone, meperidine, tramadol, amphetamines (Methamphetamine & Ecstasy), phencyclidine (PCP), marijuana and cocaine.

Finding drug metabolites in the hair shaft and the laboratory washing techniques eliminate the issue of external contamination.  A court case in Nevada in 1996 upheld the validity of hair testing.  In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the court states – “Nonetheless, we conclude that [hair] testing especially when coupled with a confirmatory GC/MS test, is now an accepted and reliable scientific methodology for detecting illicit drug use.”

I have often been called on by Judges around the country to explain how hair testing works and asked is it reliable.  My research says yes. I researched information from studies from FBI laboratories and the U.S. Department of Defense. Additionally, the United Nations International Drug Control Programme published Guidelines for Testing Drugs under International Control in Hair, Sweat and Saliva as far back as 2001. I am aware that hair testing is currently used as evidence in criminal, civil and military courts and has passed the admissibility of expert testimony known as the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Frye Rule, and the Daubert Rule.

Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs

Recent talk about hair drug testing centers around the recent mandatory guidelines for Federal workplace hair testing as proposed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  These proposed guidelines were open for public comment and this comment period expired November 9, 2020. 172 comments were received, some for and some against the proposed mandatory guidelines for hair testing. You can view these comments at Regulations.Gov.

The American Trucking Associations expressed disappointment for the trucking industry stating that HHS delivers a weak and misguided proposal more than three years late. Major trucking companies for years have had success keeping our roadways safe by eliminating truck drivers from our roads who have tested positive. Large motor carriers have stated that between 2006 and 2016, over 7000 drivers have tested positive for illegal drugs but tested negative on a urine drug test. The concern is safety, hair testing is difficult to cheat on; urine testing cheating is much easier.

The proposed rules seem complicated and complex with an indication of a bias towards hair testing. The National Drug & Alcohol Screening Association (NDASA) has provided excellent comment on these proposed guidelines for hair testing.  Eight flaws in the guidelines were pointed out and an additional eight points in support of important and effective hair drug testing programs.  National Drug Screening is in full support of the NDASA comments.

So, the bottom line is that hair testing for non-regulated programs, those that are not Federal employees or when not testing under DOT regulations; hair testing is alive and well.  For those trucking companies administrating hair drug testing under company policy, we can help – call 866-843-4545. For personal testing, attorneys, court systems and other individuals we can provide hair testing and ordering is easy over the phone at  866-843-4545 or order online at Order a Hair Drug Test

The standard 5 panel hair test will cover – Amphetamines (Methamphetamine & Ecstasy), phencyclidine (PCP), opiates (Codeine, Morphine & 6-MAM Heroin Metabolite), marijuana and cocaine.

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Hair Drug Test

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