Hair testing for drug abuse is widely used by employers, governments, legal organizations and even hospitals to identify drug abuse in various categories of people, such as athletes, employees and patients. What is very important about this type of test is that it can track back drug use up to 90 days, even if you only had episodic use of illegal substances.
If you’re interested in learning about ways to pass a hair drug test, then we recommend you read our full article on the subject.
When a person consumes drugs, certain compounds are carried by the blood throughout the human body, and some of them can be identified in hair follicles. Because hair can maintain drug traces for a long time, taking a hair sample is recommended for identifying illegal substance use.
If drug traces usually disappear within a reasonable time frame, not the same thing happens with the metabolites that are created by the body in reaction with the drug. These are more likely to be identified during a test.
How is drug consumption traced by the hair test?
Certain, usually more complex, tests follow the traces of drug and metabolites month after month. Basically, they can establish even modification in drug consumption habits over long durations of time. The technician segments the hair sample provided in 1cm portions, and examines them individually. This way, an entire picture of the person’s
habits regarding drug use can be identified.
More common tests usually offer an overall picture of drug use within three months. This overall analysis can only provide information for 90 day durations, meaning that longer periods of time will be segmented this way.
What is the time frame necessary for the hair test to work?
The number one reason why 1cm samples are analyzed is because this is how much hair grows in one month. Other tests that use bodily fluids, like urine or saliva, are more commonly used for identifying drug abuse over a short time.
Given the complexity, hair tests are considered to be more reliable.
There is one thing you should know about, though. In order to show traces of drugs or metabolites, hair must grow for one to two weeks. For instance, if anyone wants to learn if you have done drugs recently, an urine or saliva test will be required.
What drugs are identified through this type of test?
The following list includes most of the drugs that can be identified in this manner:
Usually, technicians or doctor will require a hair sample from your scalp, but since there are plenty of people who prefer going bald and there is not enough hair on their heads to do so, hair growing on other parts of the body can be used. Lab technicians usually take other samples from the chest or facial hair. Basically, there is no one that cannot be tested for drug use in this manner. However, because the hair growing in these areas is not as fast growing as the one on your scalp, only an overall analysis can be run for it, and monthly detection is out of the question (also because it cannot grow as long as scalp hair).