Hair testing

Hair Drug Test Procedures

by Pablo Bolanos on November 7, 2017

Hair drug testing can help employers detect habitual use by job applicants and employees. Its primary benefit when compared to other types of drug testing is its long detection window. Additionally, the process requires a small specimen of hair cut under direct supervision, making it difficult to tamper or cheat.  When compared with urine testing, hair testing tends to provide a greater number of positives due to its 90 day-detection window, making it an excellent option for pre-employment and random drug testing programs.

To reap the benefits of hair drug testing, as with all other forms of drug testing, one crucial step must be well executed—the collection of the specimen. We hold our collection services team to the highest standards of quality and professionalism and offer comprehensive training to perform a proper collection. That said, hair collections can be complex and challenging. Individuals are naturally apprehensive about having their hair cut. However, our professional collectors are experienced and proficient in cutting only a small, required amount of hair—just enough required for—laboratory testing.

We’ve created a hair collection guide to share as a reference tool for everyone involved in your workplace drug testing program, including your human resources team, field recruiters, executive leadership, and anyone who wants to learn more about the steps in a hair drug collection testing process.

Our guide emphasizes:

  • Collector preparation prior to obtaining the hair specimen
  • Collection of the hair specimen—typically cut from the crown and the back of the head in a way it will not be noticeable
  • Utilizing the hair testing kit to properly wrap the hair specimen for transport to the lab
  • Completion of the chain-of-custody process at the collection site
  • Examples of incorrect hair drug test collections to illustrate what not to do

Download our Hair Testing Specimen Procedures and Information guide.

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

 

 

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 on someone who is lacking hair or is bald.

Typically, hair is cut from the crown at 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 hair is placed side by side, the amount equals approximately ½ inch of hair.

If the donor does not have head hair or if their hair is 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 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 anywhere on body, a collector may combine hair from different locations on the body or hair from different areas of the scalp to complete a single sample. 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 abuse.

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.

Hair testing helps to protect safety

August 29, 2017Hair testing

Safety remains a primary reason for drug testing, and that’s just as true in the U.S. as it is in Brazil. The Brazilian government faced serious challenges keeping its streets and highways safe with 40,000 traffic-related deaths annually. The dangers were reflected in data from the World Health Organization, which ranks Brazil fifth in the […]

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Ask the Experts: Hair drug test collections

August 4, 2017Hair testing

Question: How much hair is needed for a drug test? Rumors abound about exactly how much hair is snipped for a hair drug test. Some imagine they will suffer with a choppy, bad haircut or bald spot. Others fear they will lose their precious locks and require a hat wherever they go. In fact, quite […]

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Ask the Experts: Effects of Hair Treatments on Drug Test Results

June 27, 2016Hair testing

Question: Can products and treatments affect hair drug test results?  Some employers who use hair testing as part of their workplace drug testing program wonder if hair products – like shampoos, sprays, gels, coloring, bleaching, and perming – can have an impact on their test results. We asked Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and […]

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Taking the High out of High School

May 12, 2016News

On April 23, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Detroit Catholic Central High School will begin hair testing their students for marijuana, opiates, cocaine and other drugs. This is one of many examples of a rising trend among private high schools searching for new ways to discourage drug use among teens. Proponents of random […]

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Drug Testing Needs Assessment

March 14, 2016Drug Testing

Employers are tasked with making important decisions about how best to keep their workplaces safe, productive and drug-free. An important component of creating and maintaining a drug-free workplace is having an effective drug testing program. And, while urine drug testing has been the standard for decades, there are now many other drug testing options available, […]

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Quest Diagnostics & Labet Offer Hair Drug Testing in Brazil

March 7, 2016News

According to the World Health Organization, Brazil ranks fifth in the world for deaths as a result of car accidents. In addition, research published in the Journal of Addiction shows that some Brazilian drivers have serious problems with illicit drug and alcohol use. These statistics compelled Brazilian lawmakers to take actions to make travel safer […]

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Guide for Drug Testing Laws

September 21, 2015Drug Testing

One of the most critical elements of your organization’s drug testing program is a comprehensive, well-written policy that is both easy for employees to understand and compliant with state and federal laws. State laws for drug testing vary across the country, while many states permit all types of drug testing, some states have unique requirements […]

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Quest Comments for Hair Specimen Mandatory Guidelines

August 5, 2015Hair testing

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Request for Information in the Federal Register seeking comments on regulatory policies and standards regarding the potential use of hair specimens for Federally-mandated drug and alcohol testing. This publication opened a 60-day comment period to allow the public to participate in […]

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