A hair follicle drug test is one way to test people at work or other places for illegal substances. The test is used by removing a small amount of hair then analyzed for drugs. It typically looks back about 90 days before the test and is used for myriad drugs ranging from marijuana to cocaine to ecstasy. Learn more about how this drug test is used and why it is necessary.
The collection of the hair and testing are meant to be as accurate as possible. Every precaution is taken to prevent environmental contamination that might change the results of the test. Your results cannot be changed by using styling products, dying the hair or washing it out. The drug will be within the hair follicle. The only way to keep it out of your hair is not to do it at all. Some medications may influence the results of the test including opioid painkillers.
Hair vs Urine Test
The window of detection is the main difference between a hair follicle test for drugs and urine test. A urine drug test can look for three days prior if a person used the substance. A hair follicle drug test is the only one on the market that can detect repeated use of drugs up to 90 days prior to testing. Drugs sit in the bloodstream and become part of the hair cells as they grow. Because of the rate of hair growth, some drugs may not be detected in the hair until a few days after use.
Hair follicle drug tests may identify use up to 90 days prior to test date. This is because chemicals from the drugs will go into your bloodstream. While your hair grows, it brings the drugs with it into the follicles. Hair follicle drug tests may not be good for determining recent drug use in the last week but it can be used for past use up to 90 days.
In whatever way a person is tested for substances, usually it is because some drug use is suspected. If you take prescription medication, this is necessary to tell the person conducting the test. They will need to know because it may lead to a false-positive test result for you (and perhaps a challenge at work). If you are struggling with addiction to drugs and it shows up on your test results, the best thing to do is to own it and admit you need help. If you are struggling, there are programs and resources available to help you navigate recovery from drug use.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We teach people how to live a sober life through programs, therapeutic support, and evidence-based therapies. Our recovery program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.