FAQs About Hair Follicle Drug Tests

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When starting a new job, many companies require drug testing before starting your new position. While the old method involved using urine, many drug tests today use hair follicles.

The hair follicle drug tests have the same purpose as a urine drug test. The hair drug tests detect illegal drug use from a person's hair.

Since hair drug testing is a newer method, you may have some questions. Below you'll find some of the FAQs about hair drug testing.

Can A Hair Drug Test Detect A One Time Use?

The answer is most likely no. If you use drugs daily and long-term, then the test finds the drugs used, but if you used drugs one time or more sporadically, the test is less likely to detect them.

Hair takes time to grow, so it also takes time for drugs to show up on the test. Companies using this type of drug testing must consider this issue for their hiring process.

Can A Hair Drug Test Be Wrong?

Generally, hair drug testing is accurate, but, like with all types of testing, it's possible to have a false positive. This is especially true if the sample is contaminated, or if something goes wrong during the testing process.

If you get a false positive, it's a good idea to submit to another test right away. It's also wise to disclose all medications you're currently taking—this includes over-the-counter, prescription, and supplements.

What Drugs Show Up On A Hair Drug Test?

The hair and follicle samples collected provide information about some of the most commonly abused drugs:

  • THC from marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • PCP
  • Cocaine

The most common test is the five-panel test that works to detect all five of these substances.

How Far Back Does The Test Detect Drug Use?

Hair drug testing has a longer detection period than urine tests. The hair follicle 5-panel test detects up to 90 days of drug use.

Some hair follicle tests are sensitive to determining when a person used drugs and stopped using drugs. This information depends on the type of drug and the sample taken. You can ask questions about the testing service if you have any questions about the testing process and results.

Drug testing is a common practice for companies hiring new employees. The tests are accurate and rarely come up with a false-positive result. This means you shouldn't use drugs, even recreationally, if you know you'll be submitting a sample to hair drug testing services. 

For more information about hair drug testing, contact a local testing company, such as AAVCOR.