Ask the Experts: Hair drug test specimens

by Nicole Jupe on October 17, 2017

Q: Can a hair drug test be performed on someone with little or no hair?

We get many questions from both individuals scheduled for a drug screen and employers in anticipation of a hair drug test. They wonder how much hair is needed, what part of the head is the hair is cut from, whether color, bleach, shampoos, or salon treatments may interfere with test results, and how a hair collection is performed for someone who is lacking hair or is bald.

Typically, hair is cut from the crown of the back of the head in a way where it will not be noticeable. If the individual visits a Quest Diagnostics collection site, a professional collector is trained to cut only the small amount of hair needed for our laboratory to perform the test. If the cut hairs are placed side by side, the amount equals approximately ½ inch of hair.

If the donor does not have head hair or if their hair less than a ½ inch long, a specimen can be taken from other locations on the body. In order of preference, our collectors will cut body hair from the chest, underarm, leg, or facial hair to obtain a sample. Body hair is usually lighter in weight; therefore much more hair is needed to gather an adequate sample for a drug screen.

In the event that hair is not present in large quantities throughout the body, a collector may combine hair from different locations on the body and hair from different areas of the scalp to complete a single specimen collection. However, head hair and body hair cannot be mixed. The collector will always note the source of the hair sample on the envelope, which will aid in a more accurate interpretation of the final hair drug test result.

Hair testing is the only drug testing method available that provides up to a 90-day drug use history. This method of specimen collection has become increasingly popular as employers rely on hair testing as an effective way to evaluate long-term patterns of drug use.

Read our Hair Testing FAQs for more frequently asked questions about hair testing.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

I’m There: Claudia Padilla

by Pablo Bolanos on October 16, 2017

Teamwork cannot exist if we don’t acknowledge what makes the team work. Claudia Padilla, Key Account Manager, works to see the human who wrote the email and the individual talking on the other side of the phone. She believes in the power of connections and how those relationships strengthen a partnership between our clients and Quest Diagnostics.

In this month’s feature of our “I’m There” series, Claudia describes what we’re there when you need us means to her. Read the full story.

Employer Solutions shares a commitment to being there when our clients and colleagues need us–at every possible opportunity. Through unique stories from our team, you’ll get a more personal perspective of what that commitment means to each of them. To learn more about this series, read our introductory post.

For more information about Employer Solutions, visit our website or contact us online.

Accept the Challenge: Drug-free Work Week

October 13, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

Today someone, somewhere in the U.S., will miss work, dodge deadlines, shift their work to others, and eventually leave a position vacant. Drug and alcohol abuse can be one of the contributing factors for absenteeism, lost productivity, and eventually turnover. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 7% of adults employed full-time […]

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10 facts about opioids

October 10, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

He’s down to his last Vicodin. His chronic pain pushes him to visit a second doctor to get more painkillers to ease his agony. She sympathizes with her exhausted neighbor and shares some pills to bring sleep back to her restless nights. Just as her husband suffers from a knee injury after a pickup basketball […]

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Half of Americans tested misused prescription medications

October 3, 2017Drug Testing

Quest Diagnostics Health Trends studies are published in peer-reviewed medical journals and by the company as a public service. The research features insights and analysis from a large database of laboratory data. Most recently, we released the Prescription Drug Misuse in America: Diagnostic Insights in the Growing Drug Epidemic report, which examined 3.4 million prescription […]

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Cincinnati: A 7-Day Look into Heroin Addiction

September 29, 2017Drug Testing

Advancements in technology allow us to experience more than just our own lives. Through the screens we hold, we passively watch, comment, and discuss as observers and bystanders. With the 24-hour news cycle and reality television, we can become desensitized and may even experience compassion fatigue, a side effect of vicariously experiencing trauma. When it […]

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Detect marijuana more often using oral fluid

September 27, 2017Oral Fluid testing

As state marijuana laws continue to change, it’s not surprising that marijuana use and drug test positivity are also on the rise. An estimated 24 million adults (aged 12 or older) currently use marijuana, according to latest data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. New technology in oral fluid testing has proven effective […]

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New data shows 1 in 10 Americans use drugs

September 25, 2017Drug Testing

More states than ever before allow the recreational use of marijuana, a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Opiate abuse claims 91 lives each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If users can’t obtain painkillers, they seek potent, cheaper alternatives like fentanyl or heroin. In short, drug use in our society continues to […]

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By the Numbers: Random Drug Testing Data

September 22, 2017Drug Testing

Companies drug test their applicants and employees at a variety of times, for a variety of reasons, using a variety of specimen types. The federally-mandated, safety-sensitive sector follows regulatory drug testing guidance, and in doing so establishes a model that is frequently followed by U.S. companies, who elect to perform drug testing because they see […]

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Advancing our online solutions

September 19, 2017Drug Testing

Moore’s law, in its broadest definition, states that technological advancements will continue at an exponentially rapid rate. At Quest Diagnostics, we know that when employers want to drug test an applicant or employee, they often need an electronic means by which to order, track, and review the progress of that test. With those two ideas […]

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