How Hair Drug Testing Is Performed

Hair drug testing can determine if an individual has used illicit drugs. This type of testing is non-invasive and can be conducted at home, at a place of employment, at a lab, or at a medical office.

A Comprehensive Testing Process

Hair drug testing is conducted in two stages. The first part of the test determines if drugs were detected in a series of hair strands. If a test comes back with a negative result, the strands will be tested a second time.

If a test comes back with a positive result, it will undergo a more thorough testing process that will screen for many illicit drugs. The second test can determine a pattern of drug use and the drug types that were detected.

Test results are confidential. If a person will be taking a test at a lab or a medical facility, the individual who is being tested must sign a release form. The release form will give permission for the results to be shared with a third party. The results may be given over the phone, through a fax, through an email, or through written correspondence.

The Test Requirements

An employer may require their employees to undergo a hair drug testing process. A person who is participating in a rehabilitation program may need to take a hair drug test. These are just two examples of when a hair drug test may come into play. 

Testing can be conducted on hair that has been bleached or dyed. The person who is administering a test will cut several hairs from the crown of the head, then carefully wrap the hairs and place them inside of a sealed bag. The hair can be sent to a lab or can be tested onsite. 

Cost Factors

Some hair drug tests are designed for consumer use. If a parent, for instance, would like to make certain that their child hasn't been using drugs, they may decide to purchase a test and use it at their home. Hair drug tests are furnished at a lab, a doctor's office, or another medical facility that performs drug testing services.

If an individual has been mandated to have a drug test performed by their employer, they will not be required to pay for the testing process. It is the employer's responsibility to pay for the drug test, and to compensate the individual for the time that is spent participating in the testing process.