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The Difference Between Hair & Blood Drug Testing

by | Dec 23, 2023 | Uncategorized

Thanks to an array of advancements in lab technology, drug and alcohol testing can now be administered in a wide variety of ways. Depending on your specific situation, you may find that one type of drug testing option suits your needs better than others. For that reason, it can be helpful to understand some of the basic similarities and differences between each type of drug test to ensure you choose the right one.

Hair and blood testing are among the most popular types of drug tests today, providing patients with fast, reliable results. At ARCpoint Labs of Fort Myers, patients often ask about the difference between hair and blood drug testing, so we’ve put together a useful resource that breaks down the key facts about each option.

What is Hair Drug Testing?

Hair drug tests detect drug use by analyzing a hair sample for the presence of drugs and drug metabolites.

How Does a Hair Drug Test Work?

Because drug (and drug metabolites) are absorbed into the hair matrix via the bloodstream, a hair drug test is a simple, reliable method for measuring past use. Typically, negative results are available between 48 and 72 hours after the specimen has been received and processed, while positive (confirmation) testing requires an additional 72 hours.

During a hair drug test, a technician will collect the sample for testing (about 90-120 strands), cutting from the scalp. One major benefit of a hair drug test (in comparison to a urine analysis) is that the collection process is completely supervised, eliminating any concern for tampering.

What Drugs are Detected by a Hair Drug Test?

Hair drug tests are able to assess a hair sample for the presence of the following drugs:

  • Marijuana (metabolite
  • Cocaine (and metabolites)
  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstasy
  • Opiates
  • PCP

What Time Period is Covered by a Hair Drug Test?

Because each individual’s hair growth rate varies slightly, so does the time span covered by a hair drug test. However, on average, a 1.5-inch sample of hair can detect drug use within a 90-day span.

What is a Blood Drug Test?

A blood drug test uses a sample of blood to detect the presence of drugs (or alcohol). This type of drug test is optimal for ongoing drug use, offering a narrow but effective detection window. Because a blood drug test can detect the presence of drugs within minutes to hours (compared to the days required for a urine test), it is ideal for obtaining quick, up-to-the-minute results.

How Does a Blood Drug Test Work?

A blood drug test requires a technician to draw a small sample of blood, which is then secured and processed for testing. Like hair drug testing, blood drug tests are administered by a certified professional, significantly reducing any possibility of error or adulteration.

What Drugs are Detected by a Blood Drug Test?

Blood drug tests can detect the following substances:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Oxycodones
  • Fentanyl
  • Opiates
  • PCP

What Time Period is Covered by a Blood Drug Test?

Because the body quickly metabolizes drugs in the bloodstream, the detection window for this type of test is fairly short and depends on the type of drug. For example, LSD has a detection window of just 0-3 hours, while benzodiazepines can be detected up to 48 hours later.

Confidential, Accurate Drug and Alcohol Testing in Fort Myers

ARCpoint Labs of Fort Myers is a trusted provider of lab testing solutions, offering a range of drug and alcohol testing options to suit many different situations. Our certified lab and highly-trained technicians are committed to the highest standard of professionalism, providing you with a clean, comfortable setting, excellent customer service, and accurate results. You can be confident that at ARCpoint Labs, your testing experience will be simple, straightforward, and stress-free.

For more information about our extensive selection of drug tests and other lab solutions, contact ARCpoint Labs of Fort Myers today.

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