How is Drug Testing on Hair Performed?

Hair under the MicroscopeAs illegal drug use becomes more and more prevalent, drug screening has increasingly become a necessity for many companies during the final stage of the hiring process. It would be nice if all methods of drug testing were reliable at quickly detecting recent drug use, but, unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Urinalysis, for example, has been proven unreliable due to the fact that there is a limited window of time required to detect recent drug use, and test takers have found many ways to tamper with the specimen collection process.

While the majority of companies still use urinalysis for drug testing, hair has begun to replace urine as a more effective way to detect drug use. Here’s a look at how and why hair follicle drug testing works:

Accuracy. Using a small sample of hair, the laboratory tests the hair shaft for drug molecules. The reason this process is more accurate than urinalysis is that the evidence of drug use will stay in a person’s hair shaft for up to 90 days (versus just 72 hours with traditional urinalysis testing). Additionally, hair follicle drug testing virtually eliminates the possibility of sample contamination or tampering.

Non-intrusiveness. Another advantage of hair follicle drug testing is that it is relativity non-intrusive during the collection procedure. For a potential employee who has no reason to worry about passing a drug test, this required part of the pre-employment process won’t seem as such a hassle as other forms of drug testing.

Since all companies benefit from conducting more accurate drug screening, drug testing hair is a growing trend. This not only gives employers more confidence in their team members, but it also limits the risk of hiring someone who could endanger himself or others as a result of the careless decision to do drugs.

[ Photo by: WarOnTomato, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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