There are several methods of detecting alcohol and drugs in a person’s body. This includes urine, saliva, spray or sweat, and hair follicle tests. Hair follicle testing is considered to be highly accurate and can verify the presence of prescription drugs, controlled drugs and even nicotine from smoking. It can also provide information about the quantity of consumption and the pattern of use.
In hair follicle drug testing, it is not the follicle that is being analyzed but the shaft of the hair. Ingested drugs are carried throughout your blood vessels and are deposited in the papilla, the one which produces the hair strand. The drug metabolites on the papilla are grown into the cortex or the middle region of the hair. This is why shampooing your hair like crazy will not help you cheat on this test.
Standard hair follicle screen covers a period of 30 to 90 days. The growth of hair is usually at the rate of 1.5 inches per month. The hair sample is cut as close to the scalp and 80 to 120 strands of hair are needed for the test. In the absence of hair on the head, body hair can be used as an acceptable substitute.
Drugs that can be detected in a standard hair test are cocaine, marijuana, opiates (Codeine, Morphine & 6-Monacteyl Morphine), methamphetamines (Methamphetamine/Amphetamine & Ecstasy), and phencyclidine (PCP).
Hair follicle testing has received a lot of attention, with debates on the issue of parents using this method on their children getting some heat. While some parents saw the convenience of submitting their child’s hair clippings for drug tests, some groups still argue that this violates the child’s rights. Well, how about the parent’s rights (as well as duty) to look after his or her child?