Hair Sample Drug Testing
DATCS Provides Reliable Hair Testing
Alcohol and drug hair sample testing has been around for years and is rapidly becoming a powerful tool for the detection of drug and alcohol abuse.
The U.S. trucking industry has approved hair testing, and ATA (American Trucking Association) has said that it will,
“Allow trucking companies to use a highly effective tool—hair testing—to meet federal requirements and prevent drug users from getting behind the wheel of a truck.”
The Drug Free Commercial Truck Driver Act of 2015 (s.806 and H.R.1467) and The FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act) of 2015, are important state and federal guidelines for DOT hair testing.
Hair growth is fed by the bloodstream and ingested drugs present themselves in a person’s circulatory system, therefore trace amounts of the drugs become entrapped in the core of the hair shaft, in amounts roughly proportional to the drugs ingested.
DATCS provides hair drug screening tests to help businesses like yours stay compliant. If you need drug hair testing, give us a call.
Testing Children for Passive Drug Exposure
ChildGuard is a drug screen hair test designed to register passive exposure which gives us information about a child’s environment. This passive exposure drug test for hair represents significant advance information gathering for child abuse investigations, child welfare applications, and is widely used in legal situations.
A positive Child Guard result indicates that the child has experienced one or more of the following:
- Passive inhalation of drug smoke
- Contact with drug smoke
- Contact with sweat or sebum (skin oil) of a drug user
- Contact with the physical drug substance
- Accidental or intentional ingestion of illegal drugs
Q & A
(Q) 1. What is the window of detection on a hair sample drug test?
(A) Drug use can be detected for months and even years, depending on the length of the hair sample. A standard test covers a period of approximately 90 days and the hair sample is cut as close to the scalp as possible and the most recent 1.5 inches are tested.
(Q) 2. How soon after use can a drug be detected by hair test drug screening?
(A) It takes approximately 7-10 days from the time of drug use for the affected hair to grow above the scalp. Body hair growth rates are generally slower and cannot be utilized to determine a timeframe of drug use.
(Q) 3. How does Hair Testing compare to urinalysis?
(A) The primary differences of hair testing compared to urinalysis are:
- Wider window of detection – When hair and urine results were compared in “side-by-side” evaluations, 5-10 times as many drug users were accurately identified with hair testing compared to urine.
- Inability to tamper with the test – Unlike urine, properly collected hair samples cannot be easily substituted, adulterated or diluted. Ways to beat urine tests are widely publicized and drug free urine and adulterants can easily be purchased. Most drugs users know that the simplest way to beat a urine test is to just abstain from drug use for 3 days.
- Non-Intrusive Sample Collection – No embarrassment of providing a urine sample.
- Cost-Effectiveness – Studies have revealed that each drug user can cost a company between $7000.00-$10,000.00 annually. Hair testing with its high positive results creates cost savings for the company.
(Q) 4. What drugs are included in a standard Hair Drug Test?
(A) Years ago, the laboratories only tested these five drug panels: Cocaine, marijuana, opiates (Codeine, Morphine & 6-monacteyl morphine), methamphetamine (Meth/amphetamine & Ecstasy), and phencyclidine (PCP).
However, today, our laboratories have added expanded opiates to their panel of testing, due to a significant increase in the abuse of prescription drugs. Additional drug panels are available, including tramadol.
(Q) 5. How effective is hair testing in detecting drug users?
(A) Testing is up to 5-10 times more effective in identifying drug users than urinalysis.
(Q) 6. Can hair tests be performed on people with little or no hair?
(A) Yes, Hair can be collected from several scalp locations and combined to obtain the required amount of hair. In addition, body hair may be used as a substitute to head hair.
(Q) 7. Does body hair give the same type of results as head hair?
(A) Yes, body hair can be used to test for the five standard drug classes, though body hair growth patterns are different from head hair. Most body hair is replaced within approximately one year. This means a test done with body hair will be reported as drug usage during approximately a one year timeframe.
(Q) 8. Can hair collected from a brush be used?
(A) Yes, but the test will be reported as having an “anonymous” donor. We cannot attribute the sample to any specific person and we cannot determine the timeframe of the test, so the test result is not legally defensible. The test will only report that the sample submitted had the reported drug metabolite components.
(Q). 9. Does external exposure to certain drugs, like marijuana or crack smoke, affect the Hair test results?
(A) To ensure accurate hair testing results, it is important to eliminate the possibility that the results are being influenced by drugs deposited on the outside of the hair from contamination versus drugs deposited on the inside of the hair from ingestion. This is critical to provide accurate test results and to prevent false positives.
To rule out the possibility of external contamination, some laboratories look for both parent & metabolite (bi-product) of drug usage. For marijuana analyses, labs detect only the metabolite (THC- COOH). This metabolite is only produced by the body and cannot be an environmental contaminant.
Some hair testing laboratories utilize an extensive washing procedure to remove and/or account for any external contamination.
(Q) 10. Can hair be affected by cross-reacting substances such as over–the-counter medications?
(A) Enzyme-immunoassay antibodies (EIA) like those used to test urine are used for the initial screening test for drugs of abuse in hair; therefore, the potential for substances such as over-the-counter medications to cause a false positive screening result does exist. To eliminate the possibility of reporting a false-positive due to cross-reactivity, Laboratories will always confirm all screening positive results by GC/MS for any drugs tested.
(Q) 11. Can a hair sample test detect alcohol?
(A) Yes, alcohol testing by hair screening is a reliable, affordable, and non-invasive way to test the presence of alcohol over the span of about 90 days.