The Benefits of Safe Workplace Hair Follicle Tests

The use of drugs within the workforce has risen over several decades and has resulted in increased drug testing within the workplace. Urine testing for illicit drug use was originally the standard measure, but it is easy to tamper with it, can only detect drug use within 7 days and it is an intrusive procedure requiring privacy. However, hair follicle test has become a popular and effective method of identifying drug use.

These follicle tests check for the use of illicit drugs and misuse of prescribed medication. For this test, scissors are used to take a sample of your locks. The sample is then examined to find out if there are signs of drug use. This screening can detect drug usage up to 90 days prior the test. Testing the follicle of your locks is usually done to detect the following:

  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opioids (codeine, 6-acetylmorphine, morphine)
  • PCP

Your employer may ask you to do a hair follicle screening to identify illegal drugs usage before employing you. At times, workplace drug test may be a random requirement during employment.

Hair Follicle Tests

Testing Procedures

There a several ways to do this screening test; in a lab, at a hospital, or preferably your workplace can use a kit to do the test, then send it by mail to a laboratory. It can also be done at home, using a kit you bought online.

Whenever your workplace authorizes a testing for substance abuse, most likely you will be supervised during the screening process. Washing, dying, or using styling products in your locks is permissible as none of these will affect the test’s accuracy.

When confirmation of identification is complete, the person responsible for collecting the sample will cut about 100- 120 strands of your locks from your head. There’s no need to stress yourself unduly as to which area of your head the sample will be taken from. The sample can be cut from different parts of your crown so that there’ll be no balding effect.

If there is not enough strands on your head to get the sample, the collector can instead use body hair. After cutting it will then be wrapped in foil and then placed in an envelope and sent off to the lab for immediate testing.

Benefits of Hair Follicle Drug Test

To help you understand more, let’s look at five facts that prove the benefits of utilizing this particular screening.

  1. Preserve Information for 90- Days 

Your hair needs blood to grow and it also absorbs blood directly through the root. It stores traces of drug usage in the follicle shafts and it can store this information for 90 days. A Hair test to determine substance abuse is different from urine screening in that it can identify extended substance abuse, while urine test can only determine short-term use. Since your locks is constantly growing, the test can determine when you took or stopped taking the drugs. However, it takes about a week for ingestion to show up in hair, so this specific test is not effective for determining current or recent impairment.

  1. Accurate, Sensitive, and Non-Intrusive

It has been proven that the most accurate and effective way to determine continuous substance abuse is through a hair follicle drug testing. Since the follicle screening can identify the drug metabolites deposited in the hair, it can detect occasional, intermittent, long-term and on-going usage. The test can indicate the difference between recreational and addictive use of drugs. This specific testing for substance abuse is 5 -10 times more precise than a urine screening. Check this URL:

If you are required to do a urine test, privacy is needed to collect a sample, however, collecting hair sample is the opposite. Head hair grows the fastest and is usually the longest. Therefore, it is perfect for obtaining samples for screening. The required length for samples is 3.8 cm for a detection window of 90 days. Screening can also be done on samples of 1cm, but this is for a detection window of 30 days.

  1. Cannot Be Duped

You cannot hide from follicle testing if you are required to do one. Reason being is that the sample can be taken from any part of the body where hair grows. Any cheating in this would only be possible if you waxed or shaved your body of all the hair, and that of itself would be very suspicious. You cannot wash or add chemicals to your hair to remove traces of substance abuse, because the drug metabolites are stored in the shafts. Besides, it’s also impossible to use a substitution because standard requirement is that the sample should be cut directly from your body. Privacy is not needed for this test.

  1. Detect Ongoing or Multiple Drug Use

Your locks grows constantly, therefore, testing the follicle can determine when you took the drug or when you stopped taking it. While a urine screening can indicate substance abuse that is presently in your urine, testing of the hair follicle will indicate consistent substance abuse. This makes this particular screening the most effective method for multiple screenings such as pre-employment screening, post-accident screening, random screening, suspicion screening particularly when combined with oral, blood or urine testing. Nevertheless, substance abuse can be detected in your hair root within a week. That is why hair follicle screening is not the best method for verifying recent or current impairment. Learn more about screening here

  1. Second-Hand Smoke Will Not Create Fake Positives

To get rid of the effect of external toxins, for example, second-hand smoke, hair samples are cleaned before they are tested. Screening identifies metabolites produced by the body, not the environmental ones. Therefore, outside factors such as second-hand smoke cannot create a fake positive result. It is possible for some medications like Tylenol 3s or 4s, to create fake positive results because of codeine content. However, the Medical Review Officer (MRO) will decide if the positive outcome is a result of genuine prescription medicine use, abuse of prescription medication, or illegal use of drugs.