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Hair Drug Test

Drug Testing

What is a hair drug testing?

One of the more effective methods to determine drug use is the hair drug test. This test (also known as the hair follicle drug test) is based on the idea that any substance you ingest, smoke or inject is absorbed into your bloodstream. Then, as the blood nourishes the hair shaft from the inside out, it forever leaves a telltale residue known as drug metabolites.


But don't worry, the test is far less painful than it may sound. First of all, no one in a white lab coat is going to yank handfuls of hair from your head. The test requires a sample of hair about the width of a pencil. These are cut - not pulled - from close to the scalp to obtain the most recent growth. This sample is then sealed and sent to a laboratory.

At the lab, the hair sample is washed clean of any outside contaminants such as shampoo, styling gel, and natural oils, and then melted into liquid. The sample is screened like a urine sample, and five types of drugs - stimulants, pot, coke, opiates and PCP - can be detected.

The hair drug test can accurately detect a history of drug abuse in the subject. While urine and saliva only show current and recent drug use, hair can provide a three month record. Because hair grows at the rate of one half inch per month, a 1 ½ inch sample will show any drugs used within the last 90 days. However, the hair drug test cannot identify drugs used within the last five to seven days, invalidating it for immediate use.

Hair drug testing is growing in popularity because: it is simple to conduct, is far less invasive than a blood test, and doesn't hold the embarrassment factor of having to void into a cup for a urine sample. Hair samples are also difficult to tamper with, unlike urine, which can be diluted or contaminated. Bleaching your hair does not make a difference and even if the strands are cut, hair may be taken from elsewhere on the body; including the pubic region, under the arm, or from the leg.

The only problem with relying 100 percent on a hair drug test is that the results may be skewed slightly according to the shade, and type, of your hair. Dark hair retains residue better than light hair, and so does African-American hair, which is far more porous than Caucasian hair.

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