The Laboratory Process Of Hair Drug Test

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A hair follicle drug test is performed to detect drugs like opiates, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and phencyclidine. Opiates like morphine, codeine, and 6-acetylmorphine are detected but other opiate substances like hydromorphone, hydrocodone and oxycodone can also be detected.

The human head hair grows about half an inch every month but the actual growth rate for a person can be different from the average. About one and a half inches of a head hair strand from the root end is taken for drug testing. The hair analysis can be used to check the presence of drugs taken by the subject in last 90 days. The metabolites of a drug can take up to 5-10 days to appear in the hair above the scalp. The time it takes for a drug to show up or remain in the body hair depends on several factors. Usually, it is the head hair that is used for drug testing but a hair sample from another part of the body may also be collected for this purpose.

The hair sample is washed in the laboratory prior to the testing. The purpose is to remove external contaminants. The wash procedure complies with FDA regulations. The laboratory process for drug testing starts with ELISA or Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay methodology. A sample that tests positive in this test is put through the secondary GC/MS or gas chromatography/mass spectrometry confirmation testing. A laboratory can take 1-3 days to deliver the hair follicle drug test result.

A certified laboratory complies with the cut off limits set under the SAMHSA or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration guidelines. It is important to use services of a laboratory that has been certified by government departments regulating this industry. Such a laboratory complies with the drug testing guidelines issued by the government departments and accredited agencies.

The hair is not contaminated by external exposure to smoke or drugs. Anyway, the hair sample is washed scientifically prior to the testing and only the presence of metabolites produced by the body are checked, so the test result is not affected by the subject’s external exposure to a drug or things like secondhand smoke. The substances used by the laboratory to wash the hair sample are FDA approved and do not affect the test result. It has been well established that the hair color does not affect the result of the hair follicle drug test.

It is possible to order a hair drug test online. The hair sample is sent by post to the laboratory and the result is received by email. However, such a test is attributed to an unknown donor. Only a hair sample collected in a certified laboratory by its lab technician is attributed directly to the donor person. Browse this website for more information on this subject.

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