According to a feature on 7th Space Interactive, the Narcotics Division of the Security Bureau in Hong Kong has launched a pilot hair drug testing scheme.
Ms. Sally Wong, Commissioner for Narcotics in Hong Kong, said that the scheme was launched in order to have an alternative drug-testing method to those who are involved in drug treatment and rehabilitation as well as services for the youth. In addition, the pilot will serve as a gauge as to the demand for this particular method that service providers will have in preparation for the transfer of this technology to the industry.
Ordinarily, urine drug testing is used as the main method for testing for drug use in Hong Kong. While it is convenient and fast, it can only detect drug use within a window of a few days; if not done at random, drug users will have time to cleanse themselves of drugs in their system before submitting themselves to a test. In contrast, the use of hair samples for drug testing has the ability to detect drug use from a range of weeks – even months.
Ms. Wong mentioned that hair and urine testing will play complementary roles with each other.
She also shared that for the duration of the pilot scheme, the Government Laboratory will be testing 50 hair samples a week for cannabis, cocaine, cough syrup, ecstasy, and ketamine. The hair samples – as in urine samples, will have to be provided voluntarily.
The scheme is open to Counselling Centres for Psychotropic Substance Abusers, drug treatment and rehabilitation centers, Substance Abuse Clinics under the Hospital Authority and youth outreaching groups.