In today’s working sector, the prevalence of drug use has raised pressing concerns. Employers strive to maintain a safe and productive workplace. However, the challenge lies in identifying employees who may be using drugs, posing risks to themselves and others. This is where drug testing emerges as a valuable tool. Unlike traditional drug testing types, such as urine tests, hair follicle drug testing provides a longer detection window. And it makes it possible to detect drug use that occurred months ago.
Moreover, it offers a more comprehensive picture of an individual’s drug history. In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of hair follicle drug testing. Also, its advantages, and its growing importance in various industries.
Why Employers Perform a Hair Follicle Drug Test?
Employers opt for hair follicle drug tests for several reasons. First and foremost, these tests provide a more extended window of detection compared to urine or blood tests. This means they can uncover drug use that occurred months ago. So it offers a more comprehensive view of an individual’s drug history.
Moreover, hair follicle tests are challenging to cheat because they don’t just reveal recent drug use. However, it can show a pattern of substance abuse over time. This makes them a valuable tool in maintaining a safe and drug-free workplace. Also, ensuring the well-being of employees and the company’s overall productivity and reputation.
What is the Process of a Hair Follicle Drug Test?
- Sample Collection: The process begins with a trained collector taking a small sample of hair from the donor’s head. Usually, the sample is taken from the back of the head, near the scalp, where hair grows closest to the skin.
- Sample Preparation: The collected hair sample is cut into small segments, typically about 1.5 inches in length. The segments are chosen based on the time frame of drug detection required, with each half-inch segment representing approximately one month of drug use.
- Testing Procedure: The hair segments are then subjected to a thorough testing process. This usually involves using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to screen for the presence of drugs and their metabolites. If a positive result is obtained during this initial screening, further confirmatory testing is conducted using more precise methods, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS).
- Interpretation of Results: Test results are interpreted by comparing them to established cutoff levels for specific drugs. If the concentration of a drug or its metabolite in the hair sample exceeds these cutoff levels, the test is considered positive for that substance.
- Reporting: Once the results are confirmed and reviewed, the testing laboratory generates a report and sends it to the employer or requesting party. The report typically includes the list of detected drugs, their concentrations, and whether the test result is positive or negative for each substance.
- Review and Action: Employers or organizations review the results to make informed decisions. A positive result may lead to further action, such as counseling, suspension, or termination, depending on the company’s drug policy and the circumstances surrounding the test.
Hair follicle drug testing stands as a crucial tool for employers seeking to maintain drug-free and safe workplaces. With its ability to detect drug use over an extended period and reveal a comprehensive drug history, it helps protect the well-being of employees and safeguards a company’s productivity and reputation.
As industries continue to prioritize safety, the significance of hair follicle testing is set to grow further.