By John Horton, Multimedia Specialist
Hair follicles are pretty amazing things when you think about it. Patches of hair can act as a layer of thermally insulating protection for our heads while body fat does the same for the rest of our body. Hair strands are pretty strong for their size too, as a single strand of hair can support up to 100 grams in weight. When you multiply by that by an average of 100,000 to 150,000 strands on each head, you might be surprised to know that you could support the weight of two elephants with a single head of hair. Take it one step further and imagine what you could do with the 5 million hair follicles on your body?
Not only can each strand give you strength, but the hair can give you so much information about what’s in your body. From the root to the end, it’s like its own data bank that contains information about everything that has ever been in your bloodstream, including drugs, and is one of the most commonly used types of forensic evidence. You see, when drugs are consumed, traces of these substances are deposited directly into the hair follicle from the bloodstream.
Your hair root, located beneath the scalp, is the only part of the whole hair which is alive. A single hair has a lifespan of about five years. If you were to look at the actual breakdown of a single hair follicle, you could see that it’s about 50 percent Carbon, 21 percent Oxygen, 17 percent Nitrogen, 6 percent Hydrogen, and 5 percent Sulphur. Outside of the bone marrow, hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body.
The best thing about taking a hair drug test is the fact that it’s painless. The administrator will take a sample of about 1.5 inches in length of human hair as close to the skin as possible. Head hair grows up to 2 inches every 90 days. All you need is about 45 to 60 strands of hair to perform the drug test, which don’t sound so bad since it is normal to shed between 40-150 strands of hair per day (unless you’re bald, that is).
If you’re running a little thin on top, a drug test can still be performed using the hair from other places on your body just as easily as from the head. Although the growth rates for body hair are a bit slower than head hair. The average speed of growth for body hair is about .27 mm per day. Keep in mind that this varies from person to person, mostly due to their metabolism and age. While it is easy to detect which drugs of abuse are in their body system, it is a bit trickier when trying to determine the exact time period of consumption.
Once the sample is collected, it is put into a bag that is to be sealed before placed securely in a pre-paid envelope to be sent to a CLIA Accredited lab for testing using GC/MS for confirmation and reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). They are 100 percent confidential and very reliable since this type of testing is “cheat proof”. Depending on the lab, you might get your results in as little as a few days and the results viewable online using a secure server.
If you are looking to do hair drug testing, we have several products to choose from a dependable brand you can trust, HairConfirm. We can provide you with either a 5 panel or 7 panel drug test allowing you to check for:
- Cocaine (COC)
- Marijuana (THC)
- Opiates (OPI)
- Amphetamines (AMP)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- Ecstasy (MDMA)**
- Methamphetamine (mAMP)**
Now let’s say you wanted to check for something more, like Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, & Lortab), Oxycodone (Oxycotin, Percocet, & Percodan), or Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), you might be glad to know that we offer a product that will check for those commonly abused prescriptions. Only thing to remember is that hair tests cannot be used to detect alcohol.
This method of drug testing is becoming a more popular when it comes to employment drug screening. Some employers prefer doing a hair test because of the ability to detect drug use within a longer time period (up to 90 days). Not only are they considered more accurate, but less invasive than having to get saliva, urine, or blood samples. However, those who don’t want the employer to find out their drug dependency will look for effective ways to hide their usage by using some sort of detoxification method claiming to trick a hair drug test.
Other than doing this for pre-employment screening, some employers may choose to conduct this type of testing on their employees after an accident on the property while on the job or if they have reasonable suspicion that an employee has been using drugs. However, because it usually takes 5 to 10 days for drugs to appear in hair follicles, employers typically use other drug testing methods such as urine in that situation for a more immediate action while waiting on the results of a hair follicle sample.
Hair drug testing could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year if you are a business owner. Knowing if a potential employee has a long-term habit of drug abuse would be an added benefit. Or if you want get an idea if someone has a long term abuse problem, this would be a great tool to use. Should you have any questions on our hair follicle drug testing products, please feel free to contact our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants about choosing the right hair drug testing product we offer. Call (888) 404-0020 weekdays from 8am to 4pm or send an email with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.