Imagine a drug testing method so accurate that it can detect drug use up to 90 days in the past. Luckily, there is one! Hair drug testing is one drug testing method that is gaining popularity for its accuracy and longer detection window, making it a valuable tool for employers, legal authorities, and individuals alike. In this blog, Fastest Labs will explain what exactly hair drug testing is, how the testing process is carried out, and why it's becoming a preferred choice for many testing scenarios. Whether you're an employer seeking reliable drug screening methods or an individual curious about your own drug testing options, Fastest Labs of St. Pete has the information you need to make informed decisions.
Hair drug testing is a reliable, accurate and robust method for covering large historical chronological insight into drug or alcohol consumption. At Fastest Labs, our hair strand testing offerings are a popular and well-established option for legal practitioners and professionals specializing in family law and care proceedings, in addition to the courts, employers, and rehabilitation services.
Why is Hair Drug Testing a Preferred Method?
Hair drug testing, also known as hair follicle testing, is gaining prominence as a preferred method of drug screening for several compelling reasons. Unlike traditional urine or blood tests, hair drug testing offers distinct advantages that make it more dependable and comprehensive. Here are some key reasons why it stands out in the realm of drug testing:
- Extended Detection Window: One of the most significant advantages of hair drug testing is its extended detection window. While urine and blood tests can only detect recent drug use, typically within a few days to a couple of weeks, hair follicle tests can detect drug use over a much longer period. Hair can retain drug metabolites for up to 90 days or even longer, depending on the length of the hair sample collected. This extended window makes it an excellent choice for identifying long-term or chronic drug use.
- Accuracy: Hair drug testing is renowned for its accuracy. The process can detect a wide range of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, and more. The results are less susceptible to manipulation or adulteration compared to urine tests, making it a more reliable indicator of an individual's drug history.
- Non-Invasive: Collecting a hair sample is a non-invasive procedure, making it comfortable and convenient for both employers and individuals undergoing the test. Unlike blood tests that require a needle prick or urine tests that can be awkward to administer, hair drug testing simply involves snipping a small sample of hair from the back of the head or another inconspicuous area.
- Difficult to Cheat: Cheating a hair follicle test is incredibly challenging. While individuals may attempt to dilute or adulterate urine samples, there are limited options for tampering with a hair sample. This makes hair drug testing a preferred choice for employers who want to ensure the integrity of the testing process.
- Comprehensive History: Hair drug testing provides a comprehensive overview of an individual's drug use history. Each segment of hair can correspond to a specific time frame, allowing for a detailed timeline of drug use patterns. This information can be invaluable for employers assessing an applicant's suitability for a job or for legal authorities in investigative procedures.
What is the Hair Drug Testing Process?
When you walk into a drug testing lab for a hair drug test, you may wonder what the process entails. Here is what you can expect during your visit with us at Fastest Labs of St. Pete.
The first step in hair drug testing is sample collection. When you arrive at the testing facility, a trained technician will guide you through the process. Typically, a small, inconspicuous sample of hair is collected from the back of your head, near the scalp. This location is chosen because it allows for easy concealment, and it provides a representation of your recent drug use history. If you have very short or shaved hair, hair can be collected from other parts of the body, such as the armpit or chest.
Once the hair sample is collected, it is carefully prepared for testing. This involves washing the hair to remove any external contaminants or substances that may be present on the hair's surface. This step ensures that the test results are accurate and not influenced by external factors.
After preparation, the hair sample undergoes a specialized testing process. This process typically involves enzymatic digestion or chemical extraction to isolate drug metabolites present within the hair shaft. The extracted substances are then analyzed using advanced laboratory equipment.
Detection and Reporting:
The laboratory's analytical equipment detects the presence of drug metabolites in the hair sample. Each detected metabolite corresponds to a specific drug, allowing for a comprehensive overview of the individual's drug history. The results are typically reported as positive or negative for each drug tested. If any drugs are detected, the report may also include the levels or concentrations found.
The turnaround time for hair drug test results can vary depending on the laboratory and the specific tests being conducted. However, in most cases, results are available within a few days to a week. Some labs offer expedited services for quicker results, which can be particularly beneficial for employers in time-sensitive situations.
Confidentiality and Privacy:
Rest assured that your privacy and confidentiality are paramount during the entire process. Labs are committed to maintaining the integrity of the testing process and ensuring that your personal information and results are kept confidential.
Review and Interpretation:
If you are undergoing hair drug testing for employment or legal purposes, it's essential to understand the implications of your results. Positive results may require further discussion with your employer or legal counsel to determine the appropriate course of action.
What Can Be Detected Through Hair Follicle Drug Testing?
With a detection window of up to 90 days or more, hair follicle drug testing can be used to detect the following substances:
- Alcohol (Ethanol) Testing: Hair follicle drug testing is not typically used to detect alcohol consumption. While some tests may include alcohol markers, it's primarily designed to identify illicit drugs and prescription medications. For alcohol testing, other methods like breathalyzer tests or urine tests are more commonly employed.
- Amphetamines Testing: Hair follicle drug testing can effectively detect amphetamines, including illicit substances like methamphetamine and prescription medications like Adderall and Ritalin. The test can provide a comprehensive history of amphetamine use, even if it was consumed months prior.
- Barbiturates Testing: Barbiturates, which are central nervous system depressants, can also be identified through hair follicle drug testing. This includes both short-acting and long-acting barbiturates.
- Benzodiazepines Testing: Benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, are detectable through hair follicle testing. This includes drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan.
- Cocaine Testing: Cocaine use is readily detectable through hair follicle drug testing. Whether it's crack cocaine or powdered cocaine, this method can pick up traces of the drug.
- Marijuana (THC) Testing: Hair follicle tests are particularly effective at identifying THC, the active component in marijuana. Even occasional use can be detected, as THC metabolites are deposited in hair follicles over time.
- Nicotine and Cotinine Testing: While hair follicle testing primarily focuses on illicit drugs, it is technically possible to detect nicotine and its metabolite, cotinine, in hair. However, hair testing for nicotine is less common compared to other methods like urine or blood tests.
- Opioid Testing: Opiates such as heroin, codeine, and morphine leave a detectable chemical footprint in hair, making them easily identifiable through hair follicle drug testing.
- Phencyclidine (PCP) Testing: Phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP or "angel dust," is another substance that can be identified in hair follicle drug tests.
It's important to note that the detection window for each drug can vary depending on several factors, including the individual's metabolism, the length of the hair sample, and the sensitivity of the testing method. Hair follicle drug testing offers a comprehensive view of an individual's drug history, making it a valuable tool for various scenarios, including employment screening, legal cases, and personal concerns.
If you require accurate and reliable drug testing services, Fastest Labs of St. Pete is here to assist you. Our advanced hair follicle drug testing services can provide the insights you need for informed decision-making. Trust our experienced professionals to deliver fast, accurate, and confidential results tailored to your specific needs.
Get the Results That You Can Trust
Hair drug testing is a powerful tool that provides individuals and businesses the means of screening for drug usage. With our comprehensive range of 5, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 19-panel tests, we can detect a wide spectrum of both common and less-common illegal substances. Moreover, we offer the flexibility to tailor our testing to your specific requirements, ensuring you get the insights you need to make informed decisions.
Embrace the benefits of hair drug testing today and take the proactive step towards a drug-free environment. Trust us to help you maintain a safe and drug-free workplace or ensure the well-being of your clients and constituents. Ready to experience the benefits of hair drug testing? Contact Fastest Labs of St. Pete today for fast, accurate, and confidential results.