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Hair Follicle Drug Test FAQ

Hair Follicle Drug Test FAQ

Due to the increased incidence of drug abuse, drug testing has become imperative to detect the use of illicit drugs. The hair follicle drug test is one of the techniques employed for the same. Here are some FAQs people have about this test along with their answers.
Rajib Singha
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Drug testing helps to evaluate the use of legal or illegal drugs by a person. In most cases, it is used to detect the presence of performance-enhancing drugs in athletes. This process makes use of the urine, saliva, blood, sweat, and hair samples. This article discusses some basic FAQs people have about hair follicle drug test.

FAQ on Hair Drug Test

#1. What is hair drug testing?

Answer: When you take any drug, it is processed before it reaches the bloodstream. Since growing hair draw nutrition from bloodstream, any drug that you ingest can be detected from the hair sample. The drug molecules that are enclosed firmly in the shafts of hair are measured, taking care that there is no external contamination.

#2. What is the time period covered by a hair drug test?

Answer: When head hair is being tested, the window period is 90 days. When it involves bodily hair, then the time frame is 12 months.

#3. What if the subject is bald?

Answer: Even if the subject has a shaved head or is bald, hair samples can be collected from other parts of the body which may include the underarms, arms, and legs. In some cases, facial hair and even pubic hair are considered to be as an acceptable substitute. When no hair sample can be collected, then oral fluid and urine samples are tested.

#4. How much hair is required?

Answer: On an average, a human hair grows by 0.5 inch every month. So, about 60 milligrams of hair or approximately 90 to 120 strands are required. If the length is 1.5 inches or more, then 80 strands are good enough for the purpose.

#5. Which drugs can be detected with the help of this test?

Answer: The Federal Government has made it mandatory that five classes of drugs should be included in drug testing. These include:
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Amphetamine (Methamphetamine and Ecstasy)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Opiates (Codeine, Morphine, and 6-MAM Heroin Metabolite)
All the aforementioned drugs and their metabolites can be detected with the help of this test.

#6. In what way is this test better than urine test for drug testing?

Answer: The drug can be detected in a urine sample, only if it is present in the bloodstream. The drug is most likely to be detected if the urine sample is taken within a week of use. On the other hand, the hair sample detects drug use up to 90 days prior to testing, regardless of whether the drug is present in the bloodstream or not. Other advantages of this test are the non-intrusive way of sample collection and zero possibility of falsifying the tests.

#7. Is passing the hair drug test an easy affair?

Answer: A hair follicle drug test is known for its accuracy in providing results. To repeat, it can slap the record of a drug use in the previous 90-day period. There are certain highly structured tests, which can detect traces of drugs for up to period of even a year. So, one must not think about passing this test. The only way to pass this drug test is to stay clean. You may stumble across a myriad of products on the Internet or the market, which claim their usefulness in removing drug traces from the body. However, there is always the question of reliability and safety of such products.

Drugs, once consumed, leave their traces in the hair follicles. If you stay drug-free, you will neither have to experience the untoward effects of drug use nor worry about the drug test results.