What comes to mind when you hear the words “drug testing?” For most people, the first thought is a urine test. But when it comes to drug screening, there are several options for testing methods. Oral Fluid laboratory testing is on the rise, and employers can also opt for hair drug testing.
Hair testing, like a standard urine test, can detect substance use for an extended period. Hair can provide up to a 90-day history for the most common drugs of abuse, making it a viable choice for many drug testing programs.
The Collection Process
A hair drug test is conducted by removing a small sample of hair as close to the scalp as possible, usually from a spot on the head that is not typically visible. According to LabCorp, an industry leader in laboratory testing, the amount needed equates to 90-120 strands of hair, around 100-milligrams. “It typically takes about one week for the substance to get into the system and into the hair sample,” said Scott Kitchens, Vice President of Drug Testing and Health Services for Employment Screening Services (ESS). “A rule of thumb is that a hair sample needs to be one and a half inches long, and the detection goes back thirty days for each half-inch.”
Just for Marijuana Testing
Because of the detection window, hair drug testing is most commonly associated with marijuana use. However, the test can also detect the use of amphetamines, cocaine, opioids, and phencyclidine (PCP).
It’s Easy to Beat a Hair Drug Test
The internet is full of blogs detailing how to fool a hair drug test. Dye your hair. Shave your head. Use detox shampoos. Unfortunately, these methods will not work. Hair products, dyes, and shampoos will not prevent the test from detecting drug use. In the event of a lack of scalp hair, the test can be conducted with hair from other places on the person, such as the eyebrows or arms.
Hair drug testing is a legal option for employers in nearly all 50 states, with only a few prohibiting the practice or placing restrictions on employers. Contact one of our drug testing experts at firstname.lastname@example.org to incorporate hair drug testing services into your screening program today.