A hair drug test can be a messy, inconvenient process that might involve taking samples of blood, saliva or urine. Now, a new, convenient and reliable procedure is available in the form of the hair follicle drug test.
The hair follicle is a repository of substances that have been introduced into the body. Any drugs ingested by way of smoking, snorting, swallowing or injection leave traces of the substance in the hair follicle. When a drug is taken, it is metabolized and enters the blood stream. The blood carries the substance to different parts of the body including the hair follicle. When the hair follicle produces the hair strand the substance ingested is also transferred to the strand. Hair grows at an average of half an inch every 30 days, following a structural time line. The lowest level of the strand above the scalp is the oldest, followed by the next oldest at the next level and so forth.
In this article from Wikihow you can learn how to perform an accurate hair follicle drug test in 6 easy steps, and also some useful tips.
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Medical experts are able to test hair for drug use because the bloodstream feeds hair growth. When a person ingests a drug, traces of the substance may appear in a hair sample. To test hair, experts measure the drug molecules inside the hair shaft. Employers, the government and concerned parents can test hair for the presence of five drug classes: cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, phencyclidine and opiates. A hair follicle drug test is one of the most trusted and most used methods of drug testing used today.
- Purchase a hair follicle drug test kit. Most kits test for 7 illicit drugs plus 5 prescription drugs.
- Get a hair sample.
- You want to get close to the scalp when you cut the hair.
- For a 30-day drug-use history, you will need at least 1/2 inch (1.27 centimeters) of hair. Hair that is 1 1/2 inches (3.81 centimeters) will give you a 90-day history.
- Be sure your hair sample includes 40 to 50 strands of hair.
- Mail the hair sample.
- Put the hair sample in the pre-paid package provided in the test kit.
- Send the sample to the laboratory. The lab will test the 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches (1.27 to 3.81 centimeters) of hair closest to the hair follicle.
- Register your test on the hair follicle drug-testing website while you wait for the lab to complete the test. Once the lab finishes its test, the results will be available.
- Understand how the lab uses hair to test for drugs.
- The lab will melt the sample and measure the embedded drug molecules in the remaining substance.
- If the lab gets a positive result for a hair sample test, it will eliminate a false positive reading by conducting a second test. The second method relies on gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) testing.
- Access your secure online results. You can usually do this within 1 to 2 business days from the date you mailed the hair sample.
- Log in to the company’s website for your test results.
- Evaluate the test results. These will indicate a positive or negative result for each drug class.
- With a positive test result, the lab will include an assessment of the hair dose response. This will identify whether the donor is an occasional, weekend, daily or constant user.
- You can download the test result report and print it directly from the laboratory if you would like a hard copy.
- Kits to test hair for drug use often include the price of shipping the sample to a qualified laboratory for analysis.
- Head hair grows at an average of 1/2 inches (1.3 centimeters) per month.
- You cannot alter hair testing results by using everyday products like shampoos, conditioners, bleach, hair color or other external chemicals.
- Tests can detect drugs within 4 to 5 days from the time of drug use.
- Never take a hair sample from a hairbrush. Labs cannot guarantee results from hairbrush samples.
Things You’ll Need
- Hair follicle drug test kit
Sources and Citations
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Test Hair for Drug Use. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.
Here is a comprehensive and updated presentation made by Dr. Sarah Russell, a Forensic Toxicologist/Workplace Drug Testing Science Advisor.