What Happens During A Hair Follicle Drug Test?

During your Hair follicle drug test, the tester might collect some patch of hair and test for illegal drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs, and OTC drugs that you may have consumed for a long period, say 90 days.

Drug Testing has evolved to a completely different level. It has always been a standard 5-panel urine drug test for testing people who consumed illegal drugs. Employers have moved to saliva and hair samples to test for drugs, considering the possibilities of tampering and other cheating techniques in the urine samples. Organizations and employers who take drug testing seriously always prefer the Hair Follicle drug tests. This blog clearly explains hair follicle drug test, what happens during a hair follicle drug test, and how to pass your upcoming hair drug test.

What is a Hair Follicle Drug test?

Hair follicle drug test is a unique and accurate method of testing for illicit drugs and other prescription & OTC drugs that have been consumed for a long time. An employer may prefer a hair follicle drug test if the company needs to test for a specific drug or a group of drugs using a single patch of hair samples. A Hair follicle drug test can trace the drug usage for a maximum of 3 months before the last usage.

A hair drug test can detect the below drugs effectively:

  1. THC
  2. PCP
  3. COC
  4. AMP & MAMP
  5. Natural and synthetic opiates.
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. OTC drugs
  8. Alcohol

Necessity of Hair follicle drug tests

Not all employers prefer hair follicle drug test. Employers who operate and manage high-risk jobs may prefer a hair drug test. You may also need to take a hair drug test for legal and medical purposes if the particular organization requires to do so.

A company or an employer might conduct a random or pre-employment hair drug test if they have a specific drug testing policy or during workplace accidents or injuries. This might differ based on the state drug testing laws in the United States. Some states do not prohibit the employer from conducting random hair follicle drug testing unless it discriminates against the employee or compromises his privacy. Some states prohibit random hair follicle drug testing, while some might not allow the employer to conduct hair follicle drug tests altogether.

A court or healthcare organization might conduct a hair drug test at certain times, but it requires the candidate’s consent to conduct the test. (Sometimes, not providing the consent might be considered a “Drug Test Positive”)

What happens during a Hair Test?

  1. A hair drug test can be conducted either at a drug-testing laboratory, workplace or at home.
  2. The tester will collect a small patch of the hair sample from your head during the drug test. The tester will prefer collecting samples from the crown of your head.
  3. If the tester cannot find any hair from the crown region or you are bald, he may prefer collecting hair from either the arm or chest, or leg region.
  4. Initially, a preliminary test would be conducted. That is the ELISA The tester may conduct a confirmatory test using the same hair sample if it comes out positive.
  5. The confirmatory test is the GC-MS (Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry) test. This will confirm the presence of the drugs tested for.
  6. There are slim chances that you may get false-positive results due to consuming some food items like poppy seeds, etc.
  7. A negative test result means that the particular sample is free from drug traces below the cut-off levels.
  8. A positive test result means that the hair sample has a considerable amount of target drug/drugs in the system.
  9. Sometimes, if the hair sample gets contaminated, the drug test results would be inconclusive. In that sense, the candidate should have to provide a new hair sample to test for drugs.

Cost of Hair follicle drug test

The cost of a Hair follicle drug test is expensive compared to the urine or saliva drug test. It is because of the technological exploitation to detect the drug usage before a long period, say 90 days or three months.

Also, considering the accuracy and efficiency of detecting illegal drugs, a hair follicle drug test is the best way to detect drug usage as it cannot be tampered with or misused.

How to pass your hair follicle drug test?

The only possible way to pass your hair follicle drug test is to avoid using drugs. You cannot possibly use any shortcuts or techniques as it gets stored in the melanin cells in the hair roots that might not get washed away even with the best shampoos. There is a growing interest among corporate employers, courts, and medical organizations to shift from the traditional 5-panel urine test to a hair follicle drug test. So, it is best to avoid taking drugs if you are looking for a job in any reputed or socially sensitive sector. All the best for your bright and drug-abuse-free future.

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