Hair Drug Tests

Shawn Kilgarlin

February 28, 2023

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Hair testing has proven to be an effective, non-intrusive method for detecting drug use. It can provide a wider window of detection than urine tests and is resistant to test evasion.

A standard 1.5-inch sample of scalp hair can provide up to a 3 month history of drug exposure. A longer hair sample, collected from a different area of the body (such as the torso), can offer an even greater window of detection.

The Turnaround Time for Negative Results

A hair drug test is a type of screening test that detects drugs in the hair follicle. It offers a 90-day detection window and can help you identify long-term patterns of drug use.

In order to receive a positive result, a person must consume the targeted drug or have a sufficient amount of the drug in their system. A negative result, on the other hand, means no drugs or drug metabolites were detected in the sample submitted for testing.

To get an accurate hair test, the tester removes a small strand of hair from the scalp and sends it to a laboratory for analysis. The test follows specific standards to increase accuracy and eliminate the possibility of false positive results.

A hair test can detect a wide range of drugs, including cocaine, benzodiazepines, marijuana, ecstasy, and heroin. It can also detect traces of ethanol, which indicates ingestion of alcohol within the last seven to ninety days.

The Turnaround Time for Positive Results

Hair drug testing offers a much longer detection window than urine screening tests, which allows employers to detect drugs that may have been used several months or even years prior. This is especially useful for detecting chronic drug use that is difficult to detect with other types of drug tests, such as a breathalyzer.

Fortunately, the sample collection and testing process for this type of test follows strict standards to increase accuracy. All specimens are washed to remove any possible environmental contaminants that could affect your results. Then, the laboratory uses enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to screen for drugs and their metabolites.

However, hair drug tests are not always accurate. A few factors can cause a false positive result, including contaminated hair and hair treatments like shampooing, coloring, or relaxing.

The Turnaround Time for Detailed Reports

Hair testing is a convenient, inexpensive, and non-invasive method for detecting drug use. Its detection window of up to 90 days allows it to detect intermittent and lower frequency drug users that urine testing cannot.

This window makes it a good choice for clinical trials of brief intervention for drug misuse and is becoming increasingly used in research on moderate-risk drug users (Bernstein et al., 2005; Ondersma et al., 2014). It is also useful in comparing self-reported drug use with laboratory testing on a standard 5-panel test.

Using baseline data from a randomized trial of brief intervention for drug misuse, the current study examined agreement between self-report and laboratory testing on an internationally-validated screening instrument. Specificity of the hair test at standard laboratory cut-offs exceeded 90% for all drugs, but sensitivity was low among self-disclosed marijuana and cocaine users. It may be important to employ low detection cut-offs and/or hair testing in conjunction with self-report in studies of moderate-risk drug use.

The Turnaround Time for Refunds

Despite the fact that most labs aren’t in the business of testing hair, there are several companies out there that do. A few of the more notable ones include HIS labs and the Goodman Laboratory in the metro area. Among other benefits, their hair testing is a lot less expensive than their competitors. In addition, their clients enjoy a more streamlined process and a quicker turnaround time. To make things even better, their clients can use their mobile app to place orders via smartphone or tablet.