Hair Drug Testing BLOG

There are a variety of drug testing methods being used to detect the use of illicit date rape drugs. Mouth swab drug tests are among the most popular instant test kits, but hair drug testing is gaining traction for the detection of harmful substances.

Pros and Cons of Hair Drug Testing

Hair drug testing is commonly done by taking hair samples from a person who wants to undergo the test. Some of the pros of hair drug testing are:

 

    1. It provides a longer window to detect the drug abuse;
    2. It does not deteriorate thus making it a highly stable drug detection method;
    3. It is also ideal to detect chronic drug abuse;
    4. Does not require refrigeration thus making it more convenient for shipping or storage;
    5. Hair is more difficult to adulterate when compared to urine; and
    6. It can also help detect if cocaine or any drug is combined with alcohol.

Unfortunately, hair drug testing does not have the ability to test for date rape drugs, which are primarily benzodiazepines. Saliva drug tests and urine drug test cups are equally good options if the goal is screen benzodiazepines.

However, this is not to say hair drug testing is not an effective method of detecting drug use. Although hair follicle testing is more expensive than other testing methods, it provides confirmation of results in a certified laboratory setting, so the chance of receiving an incorrect result is virtually nonexistent. If opting for a hair drug test, it is advised to test the donor no sooner than seven days after their suspected drug use.

Pros and cons of urine drug testing

As the name implies, this drug testing method makes use of urine samples from the victim or the patient. The window of detection is typically set in between one to five days. Here are some of the pros to urine drug testing:
    1. It is the most flexible way of detecting different types of drugs, nicotine, and alcohol;
    2. It is the least expensive among other types of drug testing methods; and
    3. Window of detection starts within hours to a couple days (depending on the drug)

It is true that hair drug testing can be used to detect date rape drugs in an individual. However, the urine drug testing also produces the same capabilities with that of the first method. Add to that the fact that it is flexible in detecting different drug types.

 



But just like hair drug test, urine drug testing has its own sets of drawbacks as well. The most common problem is adulteration, dilution, and substitution of urine samples. Plus the window of detection is limited. There can also be a biological hazard while the sample is handled and shipped to the laboratory.

So which is better? Hair or urine drug testing?

It depends. The window of detection is a major difference. Urine as a testing method starts to detect sooner than hair as a testing method. Keep in mind that it might take up to 10 days for the hair to grow enough to be cut. So the suspected time recent urine testing could be a better fit. For a longer window of detection and less chance of adulteration, hair drug testing could be better.