A hair follicle drug test is commonly used in many legal situations throughout the state of Washington, including child custody cases, work-related incidents, and criminal proceedings. For many legal professionals, one of the top questions they receive from clients revolves around how to prepare for a drug test. As common as drug hair tests may be, the average person may still be unfamiliar with the purpose of this type of test, as well as the general process, accuracy of its results, and more.
Here are a few of the most common questions asked about hair follicle drug testing, and the answers that can help your client through the process:
What is a Hair Follicle Drug Test?
A hair follicle drug test, also called a hair drug test, is a lab test used to screen for prescription drug misuse and illegal drug use. A common hair follicle drug test is used to detect the following substances:
- Opioids (including codeine, morphine, and 6-acetylmorphine)
However, there are many other drugs that can be detected through hair testing, including Ketamine, MDMA/Ecstasy, Alcohol, and even steroids.
One of the reasons hair drug tests are particularly useful in legal situations is their ability to test for drugs as far back as three months when using head hair, and as far back as 12 months when using body hair.
What is the Process for a Hair Follicle Drug Test?
Legally-admissible results are only available through a professional lab or medical provider. A lab technician will use a small pair of scissors to cut a few pencil-lead-thick spots from the crown of the patient’s head. The removal of hair will be dispersed across many areas on the head, avoiding the creation of a bald spot or gap in the hairline. For patients that have little to no hair on their head, body hair may be used instead.
How to Prepare for a Hair Follicle Drug Test
First and foremost, your client should abstain from drug use (for at least 90 days prior to testing). You should inform your clients that certain shampoos or conditioners can alter the report, and bleaching or heavy hair treatments can alter the detection period in the hair or even invalidate the test. Encourage your client to avoid false “tips” for passing the test, and instead simply avoid all drug use. In cases where a client doesn’t have enough unadulterated hair for a hair test, it is also possible to test through fingernails and toenails.
Professional, Highly Accurate Drug Testing in Renton
At ARCpoint Labs, our expert team of lab technicians provides professional, discreet testing services and highly accurate, legally-admissible results. Legal professionals, employers, and individuals alike trust us with all their lab testing needs, choosing ARCpoint Labs for our reliability, accuracy, and high standards for customer care and lab protocol.
To learn more about ARCpoint Labs of Renton and how we can provide the professional drug testing services you need, contact us today.