Hair testing is usually the first thing many people do, when they suspect someone is taking drugs. Parents or employers who want to know if someone took illegal drugs can easily check using this method. Using a hair sample makes possible to screen the person for drugs, not for the ones present in the body, but for the drugs used some time ago. However, you should be aware that hair testing is not the method to screen for alcohol abuse, because alcohol is not stored in the hair.
All you need to test the hair is couple of hair strands. Usually, labs need 50 to 70 hairs (which should be about 40mg) and they should be long at least 3.9 cm (1.5 inches). For people who don’t have any hair on the head there is a possibility to test body hair. The only hair that can’t be used is hair from the pubic area, since it takes much more time to grow than other hair all over the body. If there is not enough hair, the person may be tested for drugs using his/hers urine sample.
Most hair follicle tests are made to cover drug use history for 90 days, but you should remember that it doesn’t have to be just 90 days. The period of detection depends only on the length of the hair, so longer your hair is – the longer drug history can be detected.
Everything we take can be stored in the hair. That’s the case with some medications, heavy metals and also with the illegal substances. The hair follicle test is used to measure the residues of drugs and their metabolites in the strand of the hair. After the metabolism, drugs leave a trace. These are the drug metabolites, and with the blood flow they come and accumulate in the hair. It doesn’t matter how you used the substance, if you smoked, inhale or inject it, because your body will always metabolize it and produce detectable metabolites. The hair needs the blood to grow, and with the blood your hair will be exposed to drug metabolites.
What is It Used For
Currently, according to the US laws, the hair drug test is used to detect: marijuana, cocaine, benzoylecgonine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, opiates (such as codeine and morphine), and phencyclidine (PCP). Speaking about the effectiveness, for most of these illegal substances hair follicle test is found to be more efficient than urine sample. Hair testing can detect the usage of small doses of drugs over long period of time. Marijuana users can be detected using hair or urine samples, since both tests are similarly sensitive.