5 Facts and Myths about Hair Follicle Drug Test
Hair follicle testing is a highly efficient and accurate way of screening for drug use. Though most employers are now familiar with urine testing for drug use, hair follicle drug testing has been a more popular method. The reason behind this test’s popularity comes from the fact that it’s nearly impossible to cheat.
However, a lot of misconceptions exist regarding this drug test. Even though most people know about hair follicle drug testing, very few can tell the test’s facts apart from the prevalent myths. So, here’s busting the myths and clarifying the facts about hair follicle drug testing.
What Exactly is a Hair Follicle Drug Test?
A hair follicle drug test, commonly termed as a hair drug test, is all about screening for the misuse of prescription meds and illicit drug use. A small amount of hair gets removed from the head for the test using scissors. This sample gets analyzed to detect all signs of drug use during the ninety days before the test. This test is generally asked to detect the use of the following drugs:
- Opioids (morphine, codeine, 6-acetyl morphine)
Some workplaces request a hair follicle drug test for screening illicit drug use randomly at the time of employment or before hiring. The test can also be beneficial when utilized alongside self-reporting to monitor drug use in at-risk individuals.
Outlining the Facts and Myths About the Test
There are more myths than facts doing the rounds when it comes to the hair follicle drug test. Almost every other individual strictly believes in bizarre myths about the test. So, it’s high time to separate the facts from fiction.
Myth 1: You can use special shampoos to clean out your hair.
Fact 1: There are no known ways to cheat a hair follicle drug test.
You might have heard from your friend about this great shampoo that can cleanse your hair and help you pass the drug test. But, the truth is that no shampoo or hair care product can wash away the drugs embedded in your hair follicle.
The substance you ingest eventually hits the bloodstream before traveling to all parts of the body, including your hair follicles. After it gets embedded in your hair follicles, it resides there for a long time. So, if you have used drugs in the last three months, the hair follicle drug test will detect it.
Myth 2: Completely shaving your head helps to avoid getting tested.
Fact 2: The body hair can be utilized to run the test and get the results.
It is also nothing more than a misconception that you can trick the test by shaving off all your hair. The test can still be conducted using the hair on your body, especially from arms or legs. As the substance gets embedded in all your hair follicles, the test will be conclusive even when done on body hair.
In the same way, even having concise hair is not going to save you. Even though a more extended hair sample means a longer detection window, only two inches of hair is enough for the test.
Myth 3: The type of color of hair can impact test results.
Fact 3: The result does not depend on the type or color of hair.
Is it easier to detect drug use on blond hair, or do brunettes have more reasons to worry about? What about the blondes with curly hair? You have no reason to worry or even relax because you have a specific color or type of hair.
Several studies have concluded that neither hair type nor color can impact the results of a hair follicle test for drug abuse. Researchers have decisively concluded that there is no evidence suggesting that one group, i.e., a certain race, was more readily impacted by hair testing than urine testing.
Myth 4: Being around drug users might make you fail the test.
Fact 4: Passive exposure to smoke will not impact the results.
Simply being around drug users does not make you fail any test, and the hair follicle drug test is nothing different. Let’s take an example to explain the situation.
You sit beside someone who uses marijuana, but you are not inhaling any kind of THC (the component that causes the high) from that source. There is only a minimum amount of THC in passive smoking, which is about a hundred times less potent than what you get by smoking from the source. So, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to failing the test because you were at a party with friends who were smoking marijuana.
Myth 5: Hair Follicle Drug test reveals current impairment.
Fact 5: The test is unable to detect current drug impairment.
One of the Hair Follicle Drug test’s primary drawbacks is that it is not too useful in detecting present impairment. Even though the test has such a long look-back period, the detection window starts about a week back.
The fact is that it takes about seven days for the drug to get embedded in your hair. So, if the aim is to detect current impairment, other options like breath alcohol testing and urine testing can be much more effective. Besides, if you took a recreational drug on the day before the test, you can be assured that it won’t show up on your test.
The Bottom Line
These facts and myths go around the fair follicle drug test. This should clear up any confusions that you might have had about the test. It will help you in better gauging the possible results of the upcoming trial.
Furthermore, the test administrator needs to be informed about the prescribed medicines you have been consuming. Medications might interfere with the results and give you a false positive on the test.
Thus, once the test experts know everything, they can suggest what to do and whatnot. So, keep it open regarding your medical history and update everything to the expert for a seamless test.