HAIR DRUG TEST INFORMATION
What drugs are tested in a hair follicle test?
All sorts of drugs can be detected with hair follicle drug testing:
- Amphetamine (AMP)
- Cocaine (COC)
- Ecstacy (MDMA)
- Marijuana (THC)
- Methamphetamine (mAMP)
- Opiates (OPI)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
There are many types of hair drug tests to choose from. Some follicle drug tests can detect prescription drugs:
- Vicodin (Hydrocodone)
- Lorcet/Lortab (Hydrocodone)
- Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
- Percocet/Percodan (Oxycodone)
- Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)
How long does a hair follicle test go back?
Drug testing with hair can detect drug metabolites up to 90 days after abuse. Every half inch of hair corresponds to a drug abuse history of approximately 30 days. To properly conduct a hair test, a minimum sample submission size of 0.5 inches is required, up to a maximum of 1.5 inches. It is also important to obtain the hair sample as close to the scalp as possible to provide the most recent results.
Do hair drug test detection times vary depending on when drugs are used?
It takes about 4-5 days after drugs are abused before hair grows beyond the scalp containing metabolites. Body hair growth rates are generally slower and therefore should not be submitted to determine a history of substance abuse if drug abuse occurred within one business week.
How much hair is needed for a drug test?
A standard hair follicle drug test with Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) confirmation requires a minimum of 60 milligrams of hair, or approximately 90 to 120 strands depending on hair thickness. For visual reference, the strand sample should be the diameter of a pencil.
Can drug tests be run on people with little or no hair?
Yes. As long as hair collected from the head meets the minimum hair sample length of 1.5 inches, accuracy will not be compromised when drug testing with hair. If head hair is too short, body hair can be used as a substitute. Since body hair requires more time to grow than head hair, the hair drug test detection window may be extended. Best results are obtained if the submitted hair follicle sample is collected from only one source. Hair follicle samples from the scalp should not be combined with hair from other areas of the body.
Is it possible to drug test body hair with a HairConfirm™ Hair Follicle Drug Test kit?
Yes, body hair can be used for hair drug testing and provide the same accuracy as a head hair submission. Since body hair is replaced less often than head hair, the detection window of a hair test kit can extend up to one year.
Can I submit hair from a hairbrush for hair drug testing?
It is not recommended to submit a hair sample from a hairbrush, shower drain, or any source apart from the scalp. Hair samples collected from external sources may be combined with other people’s hair, which would inevitably affect hair test accuracy. If the donor’s identity is vague or inconclusive because of a mixed hair sample, the laboratory will reject the test.
How does a hair follicle test work?
Every HairConfirm™ Hair Follicle Drug Test kit contains simple instructions to help you properly conduct a hair exam. It is easy to drug test with hair:
- Collect hair sample of approximately 90-120 hairs, the diameter of a pencil
- Mail hair sample to the HairConfirm™ lab stamped on the provided prepaid shipping label
- Register your hair follicle test online using your HairConfirm™ Specimen ID Number
- A laboratory technician will perform hair follicle analysis
- Confirmed Positive drug test results undergo MRO review
- Use your HairConfirm™ Specimen ID Number to view hair follicle test results after 2-3 business days
How long does a hair follicle test take?
Drug testing with hair follicles differs from other drug testing methods because laboratory confirmation is required to provide the most reliable results. All HairConfirm™ kits include a free prepaid shipping label addressed to our certified HairConfirm™ laboratory, while HairConfirm™ Express offers an expedited overnight prepaid shipping label. Confidential results are delivered 2-3 business days after reception of a hair sample.
Can a hair drug test detect one-time use?
It is unlikely for a hair test to detect one-time drug use. Hair drug tests are a good solution to screen occasional or frequent substance abuse, as recurrent drug use will more likely meet a hair test's minimum drug concentration cutoff levels.
Can you tell me how to read hair follicle test results?
Hair drug test results will indicate a positive or negative result for each drug class on a confidential lab report. If a hair sample tests positive, the results section of the drug test report will quantify whether the donor is a Low (occasional), Medium (frequent) or High (daily) user.
Does hair color affect drug test results?
Hair color is a genetic trait determined by the amount of melanin pigment in hair. It has been shown experimentally using real hair samples that hair color has no effect on the outcome of a follicle drug test. Hair samples are scrubbed beyond the strand's shaft where pigment is held, so not even hair dye will compromise hair follicle drug test accuracy.
Will passive exposure to drugs affect hair test results?
Drug testing with hair follicles can discern between parent drugs and metabolites to rule out the possibility of environmental drug exposure. Finding traces of parent drugs is not enough evidence to suggest drug abuse, whereas the presence of liver-produced metabolites indicate exposure to drugs beyond external cross-contamination.
Can hair be affected by cross-reactive substances like over the counter medication?
Hair drug screening uses Enzyme Immunoassay Antibodies (EIAs) to detect false positives caused by over the counter medications e.g. cough syrup or acetaminophen (Tylenol®). While cross-reactivity can occur, preliminary positive drug tests undergo Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) to confirm early findings. If confirmed results remain positive, they are interpreted by a Medical Review Officer (MRO) for further explanation.
Can you really pass a hair follicle test with bleach or detox shampoo?
Bleaching or dying of the hair will not disguise the history of drug abuse contained deep within the hair follicle. Hair drug tests are the hardest drug testing method to adulterate or cheat for this reason. In fact, it is virtually impossible to pass a hair test if drug abuse has occurred, so donors should be wary of “drug test shampoos” and similar products. The best way to pass a drug test is to simply remain sober.
How fast does head hair grow?
On average, head hair grows approximately 0.5 inches (1.3cm) each month. This growth rate varies slightly based on age and genetic factors, so it is recommended to provide a weeklong “grace period” before ordering a hair follicle drug test.
How do drugs get into hair?
After a substance is ingested, smoked, snorted, or injected, the liver is responsible for breaking drugs down to metabolites as it detoxifies the body. These metabolites circulate throughout the bloodstream, subsequently nourishing hair follicles as they grow from the scalp. The only way to remove drugs from the follicle is to cut the hair.