Pro’s and Con’s of Hair Drug Testing
Hair follicle drug test is one of the common and easiest methods used in the workplace to screen drug use by employees. It can effectively detect drug metabolites in the person’s body and is preferred by some employers because of its longer detection window.
Hair drug testing requires 40-50 strands of hair that are cut at the scalp. According to research, the drug metabolites that run in the bloodstream are absorbed by the hair as it grows.
Hair follicle drug test can determine the presence of the following drugs: THC (marijuana), opiates (including hydrocodone and oxycodone), amphetamines, methamphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy), and phencyclidine (PCP).
Like all other drug testing method, hair follicle test also has its pros and cons. Knowing the pros and cons of hair drug testing will guide employers when deciding whether or not it’s a suitable drug testing method for their workplace.
The following are the advantages of hair follicle drug test.
- · Hair drug testing is the only drug testing method that can detect drug use up to 90 days, which makes it an ideal option particularly to workers in safety-sensitive industries.
- · Collection of hair samples is easy and non-invasive.
- · Hair drug testing is highly effective compared with other drug testing methods because samples are analyzed in the lab; therefore, making it difficult to dilute or adulterate.
- · Hair specimens are easy to store and handle.
The following are the disadvantages of hair follicle drug test.
- · Hair drug testing does not pick up recent drug use up to seven days.
- · The detection of drug usage will depend by the length of the donor’s hair.
- · It is more expensive than the urine drug testing or the saliva drug testing.
- · Results may take longer because samples require lab analysis.
According to studies, hair grows on average of 1.4 cm per month. Hence, laboratories usually use at least 1.5 cm of the hair from the root end during the testing process to assess the donor’s 90-day drug use history.
While an employee drug testing policy is an important tool to keep workplaces drug-free, it is also very important for every organization to ensure that the drug testing method used on employees is convenient and easy. Organizations should also choose for hair drug testing kits that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure accurate results.