Hair Drug Testing Vs. Urine Drug Testing

Hair Drug Testing

 Drug Testing Methods

Workplace drug testing is an issue that companies cannot take lightly.

Many US states give big businesses the chance to ensure that they have a professional, drug-free environment.

To protect employees from unfair false positives and to protect companies from people who know how to cheat drug tests, it is important that companies use only the best drug testing methods and the most professional test labs.

There is some debate with drug tests over the correct methods to use. Urine, hair, and saliva drug screens are all available.

Some prefer to focus on urine drug testing because it can detect very recent drug use, while others believe that hair drug testing is the best way forward, as it can detect a longer history of drug use back 90 days or so.

The Pros And Cons Of Sticking With Urine Testing In The Workplace

Drug Testing - Urine

The most popular form of drug testing method in the US is currently the urine test. It is a fairly straightforward procedure that is carried out by many professional testing companies. Businesses and employees know where they stand with this option. Companies can call upon their employees to give a sample in a pot, send that off for analysis and receive the results.

There are benefits to this option. The most common reason for choosing to go with urine drug testing is usually the short waiting period. These results can often be sent back to the company within 24-48 business hours. This is vital in cases with any urgency.

Another reason why these tests are popular is that of the different types of drugs that can be discovered. A common test used is a ten-panel option that can look for many well-known drugs. They include:

  • cocaine
  • marijuana
  • PCP
  • amphetamines (including crystal meth)
  • heroin
  • codeine
  • morphine
  • benzodiazepines
  • barbiturates
  • methadone
  • propoxyphene
  • methaqualone

This test can detect drug use in these categories from as much as 72 hours before the sample being taken. This can be therefore be requested on a Monday and still be able to detect traces of substances from the Friday night.

There are problems with this method. The first is that some companies are unable to offer on-site testing. Employees have to go elsewhere to provide a sample or deliver a sample to the correct people. This offers plenty of opportunity for tampering.

Also, if employees know that there is a company-wide test being carried out, they can deliberately avoid substances for that 72 hour period. Some may switch to synthetic highs that are undetectable at the moment. This is no good for companies trying to catch habitual users with on-going performance and behavioral problems.

Why Do Some People Believe That Hair Drug Testing Is The Better Option?

 Drug Testing Methods- Hair

The solution for many here is to opt for a hair drug test. Hair samples allow testers to look for drug metabolites in the hair strand. They are favorable because of they were virtually impossible to tamper with to ensure a false result.

These tests can, therefore, be seen as a more accurate, reliable option for workplace drug testing. Hair tests can uncover as much as eight times as many users as urinalysis. There are some claims of products helping people cheat. However, chemical treatments, dyes, and bleaches will not affect the outcome.

The other bonus here is that they have a longer period of detection. Some hair testing procedures can determine drug use from as much as 90 days before the sample being taken. This is a pretty surefire way of catching people that are habitual users.

Are There Any Downsides To Switching To Hair Samples?

The real disadvantage of this scheme is that a standard test is a five-panel option rather than the ten-panel option. This means testing for Amphetamines, Cocaine, Opiates, Phencyclidine and Marijuana. There are other specialist tests available with some providers, should companies require them. The issue here is the waiting period and the potential cost.

It all comes down to a matter of quality over quantity with drug testing methods. Urine tests will check for lots of types of recreational drugs, but there is the chance of employees getting around the system and evading detection. This is much more difficult with hair samples.

Hair tests may not offer as wide a panel on the primary option. However, they are more accurate and have a greater likelihood of discovering drug use among employees. It is, therefore, recommendable for companies to go with professional companies with an emphasis on hair rather than urine.

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