Understanding The Hair Test
Anything that you take into your body will usually stay there for quite some time. This is even more common when it comes to certain kinds of drugs. While your hair is not living, there are parts that are alive, such as your follicles.
If you have illicit drugs in your body like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, alcohol or methamphetamines, the follicle deposits are going to show traces of them. There are some metabolites that will also indicate that certain drugs exist in the body. Your hair is able to act as a signature for the presence of drugs just as long as your hair keeps on growing.
Because the hair is always growing, samples will be able to detect any drug use over the past weeks or months (see full detection times). Hair is not like blood, urine or saliva in that it is stable and easily processed, stored and transported. The hair is hard to adulterate and it can help to detect any chronic drug use. A hair drug test will be much more accurate when it comes to a urine test, and you are not able to manipulate it by cleansing with some sort of product.
Obtaining And Preparing A Specimen
A hair specimen is collected by simply removing a small amount of hair. The drug test will use a hair sample that is about 1.5 inches in length. In order to get an accurate result, a minimum of three hair should be obtained for each test. It will then be washed to eliminate dirt and chemicals, as some hairs will have chemicals on them like shampoo, hair treatments, tobacco, and other things that count impact test accuracy. After the cleaning is complete, the melanin that is in the hair can be processed.
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ELISA Screen Testing
The hair samples get screened using ELISA, or enzyme labeled immunosorbent assay. This is a technique for detecting any drug traces or their metabolites. There are some special antibodies that get mixed with the sample to help identify any drugs that are present. Every antibody will bond will different drugs, or the metabolites. An automated machine is then used for detection of the bonding and to identify any drug that is present in the hair.
Further GC/MS Testing May Be Necessary
Whenever ELISA testing shows a positive result, there should be further testing conducted. the GC/MS test, or gas chromatography and mass spectrometry test, should be done to help identify any markers that are found in the hair. The test can also be used to help eliminate false positives. The gas chromatograph test will be used to help purify the specimen. Mass spectrometer testing is the chemical composition comprehensive spectrum in the specimen. The presence of any spikes in the spectrum will indicate whether or not certain drugs are found in the hair sample.
Hair Drug Testing Advantages
Hair testing is able to detect drug use over several months after the incident. The hair will grow at an average about one half an inch every month. Hair strands can show the signs of any drug use for the past three months
Testin on the hair will be more convenient and far less embarrassing than a urinalysis. Samples can be collected easily and then transported to a laboratory. Hair samples do not require refrigeration to have the testing done.