Everything You Should Know About Hair Follicle Drug Test - HealthDoc

Hair Follicle Drug Test

Here we have collected the ultimate guide for you about a hair follicle drug test. To begin with, this drug test is also called with the name of a hair drug test.

It screens those individuals who are involved in illicit drugs usage phase. Furthermore, it screens and extracts out those people who have done the misuse of their prescribed medications.

Moreover, it is this during test phase that a small amount of your hair is simply removed from your head. Analysis of that hair sample is then carried out in a specialized laboratory setting.

Even more, this test identifies whether you have consumed methamphetamine, ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine, PPCP, opioids or not.

These days, almost every single workplace station is requesting their employees to appear in this hair follicle test. Hence, now let us all go deeper into the details regarding this hair follicle drug test.

What is a Hair Follicle Drug Test?Hair Follicle Drug Test

For this hair follicle drug test, hair specimen is collected from the head of a donor. That hair specimen passes itself through various stages in order to detect whether that donor body has taken any sort of parent drugs in the last 90-days.

Most importantly, the collected hair specimens are sent right to some specialized laboratory. Lab professionals screens, test and inspect the hair.

It is within the time frame of 1 to 5 business working days that the result of this test is handed over to the concerned team or committee.

Most noteworthy, when a person takes a drug, then that drug takes about 5 to 10 days to grow exactly above your scalp and also into your hair.

Then it is for up to the duration of 90 days that drug remains to stay on your head hair. To get accurate and reliable results from this hair follicle drug test, all hair specimens are first of all washed with the help of special shampoos.

This is important in order to cleanse those hair specimens from any kind of external contamination.

Methodologies Used in Hair Follicle Drug Test

Most probably, there are extensive testing methodologies which are used in this hair follicle drug test. The laboratory setting and lab professionals make use of enzyme-linked immunosorbent methodology.

This methodology detects and verifies the exact presence of any parent drug in your body, Most certainly, we have seen that a large number of laboratories carries out the second screening of hair specimens to get further accurate results.

For the reason that they pass those hair samples to Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry or even Liquid Chromatography testing phases.

Also, that hair sample may subject itself to pass to Tandem Mass spectrometry testing phase.

Which Kind of Drugs is Detectable in Human Head Hair?Hair Follicle Drug Test

However, it is observed that Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines as well as Cocaine are highly detectable drugs in human hair.

Then we have Methadone, Meperidine, Opiates and too PCP. Among others, we have Oxycodone, Propoxyphene and also Cannabinoids.

Drugs like that of Tramadol, Fentanyl, Sufentanil are easy and convenient to detect at the same time.

Myths on Hair Follicle Drug Test

There is this myth that you can avoid this hair follicle drug test if you have completely shave your head. However, this is a false myth.

The reality check is that if you have no hair on your head, then your body hair can also be used for this testing.

In addition, people believe that there are certain special products which can take out all drugs traces from your head hair. This is another false saga. None of the methods are devised so far to cheat this hair follicle drug test.

Besides, it is assumed that hair present on a brush can be used for this test. This is not true! Hair which is collected from a hairbrush, that hair specimen does not give a conclusive and accurate result.

Many people have this perception that inhaling secondhand smoke can let you skip and pass this test. This is purely a false sage about this test.

It is immensely tough to inhale a single puff of secondhand smoke. That is why none of you can skip or avoid this test.

What Happens During the Test?

Happens During the Test

You might be wondering what happens during the hair follicle drug test? Here is an explanation for you. It is in some healthier setting that this test always takes place.

Furthermore, hair samples undergo and pass themselves a two-step process. This two-step process is necessary for the sake of assuring accurate and error-free results.

  • First Step of Hair Follicle Drug Test

Most certainly, in the first step of this hair follicle drug test, it revolves around some enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test also known as ELISA test. This is an initial screening method

  • Second Step of Hair Follicle Drug Test

If this ELISA test comes out to be positive, then the hair specimen is tested again for the second time. The second test of that hair sample utilizes confirmatory chromatographic testing modes.

Like, this second phase mainly and specifically revolves around gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) testing.

Other General Points Regarding The Proceeding of This Test

Washing your hair, dying your hair or if you have used any kind of hair styling products- these items are not going to affect the accuracy zone of this subjected test.

The collector usually cut 100 and 120 hairs right from the crown section of your head. Furthermore, hairs are collected from the different spots and zones of your crown so that a bald spot does not get created.

Moreover, if you have a somewhat little amount of hair on your head or if you are bald, then the collector is going to take hair from your other body parts. These hair samples may come from your armpit or from your face.

Besides, a person’s hair should be and need to be least 0.5 to 1.5 inches in terms of length. If any person has a shorter hair length, then it is a must for him to supply more amount of hair as a sample.

Thus, the collected hair specimen is placed in a foil. After securing and sealing the envelope, the hair sample is mailed for testing.Healthdoc

What Results of this Test Tell Us?Hair Follicle Drug

Most importantly, the essential part is to understand the result details of this test. You may get a positive result, negative result or inconclusive result.

A negative result is usually and generally determined within the time frame of 24 hours after hair removal. Note down that a negative result indicates and explains that the concerned person is not at all engaged or involved illicit drug use in the past 90 days.

However, if the hair follicle drug test is positive, then it needs and requires some additional testing to further confirm that positive result.

It is seen that a positive drug test is confirmed and verified after the time duration of 72 hours. All of the non-negative tests undergo and carry out a second test which is termed as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry test.

Lastly, inconclusive results usually come and appear when any of the specific and basic testing procedure guidelines are not fulfilled.

If the hair specimen is not collected properly, then the lab will get an incomplete and inconclusive result. Laboratories make use of confidential means to send the results of this test.

As an example, it is insecure fax or through a phone call or with the help of an online interface that the result of this test is shared.

Why Is It Necessary?Why Is It Necessary

It has become utmost essential for professional and corporate workplace settings to commence this hair follicle drug test on their employees.

A large number of employers, lawyers as well as medical professionals are showing a massive amount of increased interest in this test.

Thus, it is through this kind of test that we can easily and accurately determine if a person is taking illicit drugs or not.

This test has become an important part of the pre-employment testing phase. The mission of this pre-employment testing is to remove and eliminate those specific applicants who take drugs on a regular basis.

  • No doubt, such sort of applicants put a burden on their organizations. These future employees come with lots of significant risks and also costs.
  • It is largely and extensively for employment, legal purposes or for medical purposes that the concerned person has to go for this testing mode.

A few of the companies have made it compulsory for their potential employees to take this hair follicle drug test. Or you can say that appearing on this test has become a mandatory part of their job application process.

Lastly, these drug testing laws vary from country to country and from state to state. A few of the states have prohibited employers from taking and commencing this drug testing on a random and haphazard basis for their employees.

It is essential for an employer to give full-proof and complete evidence as to why he is carrying out this hair follicle drug test on any one of his particular employees.

On the other hand, courts ask those individuals to appear for this hair drug test who are on probation.

Or this test is mandatory for those people whose child custody case, adoption case or domestic violence cases are going on.

However, written consent of the concerned person is essentially needed as to whether he is willing to appear in this hair drug test or not.

How Accurate is the Test?Hair Follicle Drug Test

Now comes the accuracy part of this test! As we all know that hair follicle drug tests are carried out for the sake of determining whether a person is taking certain drug substances or not within the last 3 months time frame.

At the same time, this test does not pinpoint or highlight the exact and accurate date of drug use. This happens because hair growth rates vary and differ widely among people.

The hair samples are passed through the two-step testing process, but the results are not always 100 percent error-free and accurate.

There are certain factors which affect the accuracy of this test result.

As an example, the structure of that specific drug compound and the overall quantity of drugs consumed by the person may affect this test result.

Accuracy of this Hair Drug test Depends on How Much You Sweat

The result of this hair drug test also depends on how much that concerned person sweats! It is the amount of melanin which is a dark hair pigment present in your hair.

It is commonly observed that certain drugs bind and attach more readily to this hair pigment melanin. Thus, if you sweat more, drugs are going to get attached on your head hair instantly.

Furthermore, hair styling products and hair shampoos do not affect the accuracy of this test result.

Following Specific Guidelines Give You Accurate Results in this Hair Drug Test

To see 100% accuracy in this hair follicle drug test, one has to follow a specific set of guidelines and standards. This way, the accuracy part of this test result can be increased.

Moreover, during testing, you have to make sure that the collected hair is completely washed. It should be free from any sort of environmental contamination.

Most probably, it is the presence of environmental contamination that may change or decrease the accuracy of this test result.

The second test which is called with the name of GC/MS, this widely accepted testing method can easily detect as many as 17 varied and different kinds of drugs.

This same GC/MS test guard and retest those false-positive results which are usually caused by eating foods like that of poppy seeds and hemp seeds.

Certain Medications Affect and Influence the Result of this Hair Drug Test

Most noteworthy, there are certain and specific medications which may affect your hair drug test. Like, if your doctor has asked and prescribed you to take an opioid painkiller.

And you regularly take that painkiller. Then that painkiller dosage is going to show up on your test results. In these kinds of specific cases, you have to give proper documentation and proof of your prescriptions.

How Much Does the Test Cost?Test Cost

For this hair follicle drug testing, there are different kinds of kits which are available in the market and also online. Most certainly, it is from the company’s website or from any reliable pharmacies that you can buy those kits.

Those packages which come with a home kit and needs to be tested for 12 different drugs, then that package typically cost around $100.

It is true that a hair drug test is comparatively expensive than that of a urine drug test. Most of the at-home kits cost in between the range of $64.95 and $85.

On the other hand, drug tests which are performed and carried out in a hospital, they cost between the range of $100 and $125.

Hair Follicle vs. Urine Drug TestHair Follicle Drug Test

There are a clear distinction and aspect of differentiation between a hair follicle drug test and urine drug test. We have seen that urine drug screen test can only detect those drugs which are taken in the last few days.

And a hair follicle drug test detect all those drugs which are taken and consumed in the past 90 days

The Difference in Window of Detection

It is this window of detection which set apart and differentiates this hair follicle and urine drug test. These hair follicle tests give a much and massively larger window of detection than that of urine tests.

The detection window of urine tests, it is up to 10 hours to 1-week time frame. And hair follicle tests window detection frame last up to 3 months.

Urine tests can only determine and detect those drugs which are recently taken. And hair follicle drug tests can detect and identify those drugs which are taken regularly or consumed on the long-term terms.

A Urine Drug Test is Easy to Tamper and Cheat

It is easy for any person to tamper or cheat this urine test. It has now become easier for any person to cheat, tamper with his or her urine sample.

However, you cannot tamper with your hair sample. This factor gives a heavy advantage to hair follicle tests. Drugs which are present in your bloodstream, they eventually become the part of your hair cells as well.

Furthermore, the sweat and sebum which is present on your scalp, they also manage to play an important role in order to make the presence of those drugs more evident on your hair strands.

Conclusion – Wrapping It Up!

To summarize, this hair follicle drug test is now taken and marked as a complementary approach for corporate, legal institutions as well as medical, and educational institutions.

Now traditional urine-based testing modes no longer opt. And hair follicle testing mode use is growing day by day. Let us all see how far this test will become more accurate and error-free.

More information and guide on other drug tests are coming soon, so stay with us.


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