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Hair Follicle Drug Testing

19 Jul 2014

... Hair drug testing provides up to a 90-day detection of repetitive, long-term drug use patterns.  It is an ideal solution for pre-employment and random testing.  When compared to urine and oral fluid testing, hair testing provides nearly twice the number of positives and a longer detection window.  Many individuals need a court ordered hair drug test.

National Drug Screening offers hair follicle drug testing in all areas of the United States for company drug testing programs, for individuals and for court ordered drug testing.  Quest Diagnostics is our preferred laboratory for hair testing.

Hair testing provides accurate results that meet the same forensic standards as urine drug testing.  Specimen collection is directly observed, reducing the risk of adulteration.

Negative results are typically reported within 24 hours of receipt at the laboratory. Positive results are typically confirmed using mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS) within 48 to 72 hours. 

Hair drug testing can detect Cocaine, marijuana, opiates (Codeine, Morphine & 6-MAM Heroin Metabolite), Amphetamines (Methamphetamine & Ecstasy), and phencyclidine (PCP). These five drug classes are mandated for testing by the Federal Government. Our also offers an Extended Opiates panel, which can be added to a standard test, and includes Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Hydromorphone.

Hair Follicle Drug Testing is available as a five panel drug test or a five panel drug test plus expanded opiates including Expanded Opiates hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone.

Hair Follicle Drug Testing provides a 90 day look back period for use of drugs although some specialty tests may look back up to 180 days.  Hair specimens can be taken from the head or from the body.  Head hair is preferred.  Typically one and one half inches of head hair is collected.  Hair may be collected from several head locations and combined to obtain the required amount of hair. If no head hair is collectable, body hair is collected and the collection requires 100 milligrams of hair.

Can hair collected from a brush be used?  No, a hair sample must be collected using proper chain-of-custody protocol and collection techniques. The test subject must verify the authenticity of the sample at the time of collection.

Hair Follicle Drug Testing can provide some advantages over urine testing depending on what you are trying to accomplish.  It does take about 7 – 10 day for drugs to show up in hair, so hair testing would not be appropriate for post-accident or reasonable suspicion drug testing.  Hair testing has its limits and its critics. It doesn't detect recent drug use and may show positive results for smoked drugs when someone has merely been in the same room where they were consumed, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Many trucking companies are now doing hair testing in addition to the DOT required urine testing.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and DOT are committed to studying testing methods beyond the one it now approves - urine - but has said hair and other specimens raise significant issues that may take more time to resolve.