Every year, the use of illegal drugs wrecks lives, breaks homes and marriages and even leads to death. Drug problems have become so prevalent all over the world, with new designer illegal drugs appearing often that it becomes difficult to keep track of both users and abusers.
Companies and schools have, to help combat drug abuse, started using drug tests to determine which students or employees are guilty of using illegal drugs. Some people might think that these tests are an invasion of privacy but it cannot be discounted that drug testing can help the society combat a rampant drug problem. And, while urine testing is, to date, the most popular form of drug testing available around the world, hair testing is fast catching up because of its reliability and accuracy. Below are just some of the more important reasons why hair testing is becoming the drug test of choice in companies and schools around the world.
1. Hair testing has a longer detection window. According to the book A Guide to Assessments that Work by John Hunsley, Eric J. Mash, hair contains drug residue in its full length and stays there for months or even years. Drugs can pass into the hair follicle through several ways. First, illegal drugs can diffuse into the hair follicle through blood. Second, they can transfer from your sweat onto the sebum that coats the hair. Third, drugs can pass directly from your skin to your hair.
2. Hair testing can be used to determine drug use history of a person. In a theoretical model discussed by Pascal Kintz in his book Drug Testing In Hair, the illegal drugs that were taken by a user are absorbed into the blood stream and then trapped within the hair during the hair’s growth phase. When the hair grows from the scalp, the drug residue form bonds that are the same concentration that was present when hair was formed. This, then, can give examiners a relatively accurate representation of the amount and number of times that illegal drugs were used.
3. Even if a person abstains from drugs, traces of illegal drugs can still be detected in hair. Because drugs stays within the hair shaft, even if a drug abuser stops taking drugs for a short time, hair testing can determine when he last took the drugs and how long he has abstained from them. Drug abusers, therefore, cannot cheat through hair testing by staying clean for a few weeks or even a month.
4. It’s harder to cheat with hair testing. The usual methods for cheating in urine drug tests, such as tampering and dilution will not work with hair tests. Some people have tried shampooing, bleaching and dyeing their hair to try to pass hair testing, but with minimal or unsuccessful results. The Google Book excerpt from Analytical and Practical Aspects of Drug Testing in Hair reveal that these cheating methods only lowered the concentration of the drugs within the hair follicle or hair shaft, and still retained the presence of drug residue in hair.
One surefire way to combat the rising problem of illegal drugs is to have schools and office use drug tests to detect drug abuse. While urine tests have become the automatic choice for most, it’s advisable to look at hair testing as a good alternative because of its accuracy and depth of coverage.
This Article is written by Lena Butler, contributor of Test Country Articles.