Drug Testing

Can Bleaching Remove Drug Metabolites From Hair Samples?

Are you scheduled for a hair follicle drug test? And is this one of your pre-employment requirements?

A hair screen is a drug examination wherein it uses a sample of hair to check and identify if a person being tested has used a specific drug. The hair follicle drug test measures specific metabolites and drug molecules produced after the human body processes a particular drug.

One of the myths circulating hair follicle drug tests is that you can pass by bleaching your hair. The truth is that whenever you consume drugs whether by smoking, injecting, or ingesting, the drug stays and metabolizes within the body. Bleaching the hair may be able to remove drug compounds in hair follicles by up to 80 percent. Moreover, they can even remove all traces of drugs found in a hair strand when multiple bleaching attempts are made.

Hair bleaching can remove the traces of drug metabolites because it cracks and damages the strands that can cause percolating of metabolites out of the hair follicles, thereby removing any evidence of drug use.

However, this is still not a guaranteed method in passing or cheating a drug test because the removal isn’t totally complete. Although the possibility of drug detection via hair screen decreases with the number of times the hair is bleached, the drug testing company may use another alternative in detecting drugs and that is through fingernail testing. Fingernail testing is extremely accurate, although it can’t provide month-by-month overview.

In short, there’s no absolute way to cheat on drug screening given that drug testing technology is now becoming more and more accurate in detecting drug use.

[Image by amber via Flickr Creative Commons]

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