- Published: Feb, 25 2020
- Updated: Feb, 25 2020
There are several different methods for employers to get reliable results about whether employees are using drugs or not. Some, such as urine sample, collection, have been in practice for decades, while others, like hair collection, are relatively recent arrivals, have become easier and more affordable to test at the corporate level.
If you have a business where you want to ensure you get good, reliable results about workplace drug testing, then getting hair collector training for drug testing is a strategic move. Here’s why.
What Is Hair Drug Testing?
Hair drug testing, as the name implies, requires hair from a subject to test for the presence of metabolites, specific compounds formed as a result of drug use. Different drugs create different metabolites, which is why a biological sample can be tested for many different types of drugs, as different “panels” detect different metabolites.
Metabolites are also used in other testing methods, such as blood or urine testing. However, in these cases, the duration that metabolites remain in the body can be measured in days, sometimes even only hours in the case of substances like alcohol. This is where hair drug testing differs, as the metabolites are permanently deposited in the hair. Moreover, dying or shampooing hair does not remove these metabolites.
How Does A Hair Drug Test Work?
The process for hair drug testing is simple and not very invasive. A sample about 1.5” in length, usually about the thickness of a pencil, is all that is required for testing. This hair sample can come from anywhere, so even if someone has shaved their head, leg, chest, or armpit hair, for example, can easily be used instead of head hair. The results of a hair test from a 1.5” sample can show drug usage for up to 90 days with longer hair samples capable of documenting drug use from even further back.
Of course, the most important aspect of the hair drug testing process is the collection itself. In the same way that some employees have tried to counterfeit their results with urine sample testing, the same holds true for hair testing. It’s not a simple matter of accepting whatever hair sample an employee chooses to give; the collection process must be meticulous, monitored, and supervised.
Because of the stringent requirements to ensure an honest, uncontaminated sample—deliberate or otherwise—it’s essential for designated employees to get professional hair collector training. While it’s true that hair drug testing is an easier, faster, less invasive method of testing for everyone involved, that can sometimes also increase the risk of people attempting to manipulate the results.
With hair collector training, employees can learn the best practices for getting a viable sample of hair that will provide the best test results. They will also get the experience and certification they need to ensure that they know how to prevent the collection process from being compromised so that only the truth will emerge when the testing is complete.
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