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How Does A Hair Drug Test Work

This two-part article is meant to give you an idea of the process behind how a hair drug test works. From the time you decide to implement hair testing, to the time that you get results we cover each step. Part 2 covers TESTING FOR DRUGS IN HAIR, READING THE RESULTS OF THE HAIR DRUG TEST AND WE SUPPORT ALL OF OUR HAIR TEST RESULTS.


Hair Follicle Drug Test Procedure 

When a business owner needs to institute a drug testing program there are many methodologies that can be implemented. Hair drug testing, urine drug testing and/or oral fluid drug testing are the main ways of testing for substance abuse. To a lesser degree, a sweat patch can be used. In this article, we will be covering specifically how a hair drug test works.

Hair drug testing has a wide range of drugs that can be detected in a 1.5 inch (90 day history) sample of hair. If you need to go back 6 months (or further) that can be done provided the donor's hair is the proper length. Drugs tested for include marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA), MDA, PCP, codeine, morphine, heroin, and the extended/expanded opiates of hydrocodone, oxycodone, hyrdomorphone and oxymorphone. Hair drug analysis in the workplace can detect drug use over a period of time that urine drug testing or saliva drug testing cannot. The cost of a hair follicle drug test can be minimal compared to the cost incurred when a person on drugs injures someone around them or damages equipment. In some states a company can get reduced workers compensation insurance when they have a drug testing program in place. The main reasons for performing a hair drug test are pre-employment, random, return to duty and follow up testing. Hair follicle drug testing is also becoming increasing popular for family law issues such as child custody and divorce cases. In general, since hair testing detects drugs in a longer time period hair testing would not be appropriate for post accident or reasonable suspicion testing. A urine drug test or oral fluid test would be conducted in these circumstances. Hair drug testing tends to provide a greater number of positives due to the longer time frame of detection. If you need to go back more than ninety days we can provide that service at an extra cost. A hair test can even be performed on hair from a brush. In this case we would run the anonymous hair drug test which does not require a name or social security number on the chain of custody form. The results of an anonymous hair test however, cannot be used a legal proceeding. We can do some customization for the hair drug test such as sending a limited sample straight to confirmation for one drug class, or do a segmented hair test. In regards to beating a hair drug test most of the methods used for that have limited or no effect on the hair.

Hair Drug Test


When you purchase a hair follicle drug test from Expomed Inc you have the option of having the collection done by one of our 500 collection centers, or doing it on your own. If it is for legal purposes or for employment, we recommend using a collection company. Most collection sites have individuals that are certified to do a hair drug test collection, but you don't have to be a certified hair drug collector to do the collection it just has to be done properly. The hair test comes with full chain of custody. The donor takes the collection kit with their photo ID to the collection site. The collection company verifies the donor's identification. The donor and the collector sign and date the chain of custody. The collection company sends the hair sample to the lab in the prepaid mailer that is included with the test. In order to make sure the hair test is completed properly by the lab the collection company will need to get approximately 90-120 stands (60+ mg) taken from the crown of the head. This amount is about the same diameter as a pencil. The reason the lab needs that much hair is if anything is positive in the screening process, there will be ample hair to do all the necessary confirmation testing. If the person being hair drug tested does not have enough head hair, body hair can be collected from the chest, underarm, leg or facial hair. If the lab does not have enough hair to complete the hair drug testing confirmation the hair specimen may get reported as - "quantity not sufficient" or QNS. Therefore, the sample is rejected by the lab and there are no conclusive results for the hair test. If the test comes back QNS you would need to purchase a new hair drug test collection kit and start from scratch. Please note - facial hair is not the same as head hair. Facial hair would be considered body hair and does not give a good estimate of the time frames involved.

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