passing a hair drug test
  passing a hair drug test
passing a hair drug test
hair follicle drug test information Hair Follicle Drug Test Information
passing a hair drug test Passing A Hair Drug Test
passing a hair drug test
pass drug testing

Understanding Hair Strand Drug Tests


Passing your drug test is serious business. Corporate industrial companies, medical professions and drug treatment programs usually insist on testing all new applicants. Both state and federal courts accept the results of standardized drug tests, and parole and probation programs routinely require proof of abstinence from illegal-drug use. In most cases, urine, blood or saliva tests are sufficient. However, for a chronicled history of drug use that extends far beyond the most recent 24-72 hours, the hair strand drug test is a popular alternative.

Hair drug tests are based on the fact that when a drug is smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected, it becomes metabolized by the body. The parent drug and its metabolites, or bi-products, circulate throughout the body via the blood stream. Because the hair roots that lie under the scalp are surrounded by nourishing blood vessels, drug residue is permanently deposited in each hair. This is true for both head hair and body hair.

From the time it is stored in the hair follicle, five to seven days will elapse before the hair grows outside the scalp and becomes long enough to be collected as a sample. Typically, 40-60 milligrams or 50-120 strands of hair are required and clipped in 1.5-inch lengths. Since your hair averages a growth rate of 0.5 inches per month, the hair strand drug test can offer an accurate history of monthly drug use within one week for the last three months, which is the usual tested time, or for much longer, depending upon the length of your hair. Body hair from the chest, arm pits and legs can also be used if head hair is unavailable. However, because these hairs grow at a slower rate, creating a detailed timeline of usage is more difficult.

Drug deposits can fade out or disappear from the hair strand after 4 months. This is due to its exposure to the environment and repeated use of hair care products like shampoos. The drug deposits in hair strands 1-3 months old are generally not affected by basic shampoos, bleaching, hair colorings or other similar products. However it has been found that certain drug detox shampoos and perm/relaxing agents can reduce the levels of drug metabolites found in a hair strand drug test.

Hair drug tests are designed to eliminate any cross-reactivity to OTC drugs. The quantity of drug that is detected can be affected by individual metabolic factors such as diet and body weight. How the substance was consumed, how much of it was consumed, how frequently it was consumed, how efficiently it was smoked, and how pure the drug was will also affect hair strand drug test results.

Hair drug testing is most frequently used to detect long-term marijuana use and the presence of cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, Phencyclidine (PCP) and opiates such as codeine and morphine. These represent the major illegal drug classifications as mandated by the federal government. Other substances including alcohol, some antidepressants, nicotine, methadone, simple benzodiazepines and mescaline are also detectable.

Lab testing may involve a two-step process of initial screening and then testing new samples with gas or liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. With the exception of marijuana, both drugs and metabolites can be detected simultaneously. Unused samples may be stored for two years for possible future verification of the original results. Positive samples are stored for 12 months to five years, and reports are kept on file at the lab for a minimum of two years. Although somewhat costly, hair strand drug tests provide reliable documentation of long-term substance use through a minimally invasive technique and without the risk of external contamination.