Drug testing is a common condition of probation or parole. Some people on probation may be required to take weekly random drug tests. Hair follicle testing can detect drug consumption for up to 90 days.
A hair follicle drug test is a type of drug test that uses a small sample of hair to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system. This drug test is often used to screen for illicit drugs, as it can provide a more accurate picture of drug use over an extended period. Hair follicle drug tests can detect the presence of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and opiates.
What Types of Drugs Are Commonly Screened for in Hair Follicle Testing?
Hair follicle drug testing is an effective way to screen for the use of many illicit drugs. Depending on the purpose of the screening, a five-panel, five-panel with expanded opiates, 10-panel, or 12-panel hair follicle drug tests may be ordered. Drugs commonly screened for with hair follicle testing include:
Testing may also be tailored to screen for alcohol consumption.
Hair follicle drug testing is a reliable method for detecting drug use because it can provide up to a 90-day history of drug use. This makes it a valuable tool for employers, parents, and others who need to know if someone has been using drugs.
How Is Hair Follicle Drug Testing Done?
A hair follicle drug test is when a technician collects a hair sample from your head (or another body part if you are bald) that is about 1.5-2 inches long. The sample is then sent to a certified lab for analysis in a process called ‘chain of custody.’ This is to ensure that the results are accurate. Once the analysis is complete, it is verified by a licensed physician, and the results are released. Results are typically available in two to three days for a negative test and approximately five days for a positive test.
What Are the Legal Challenges with Hair Follicle Drug Testing?
Although hair follicle drug testing is usually accurate, there are some legal challenges to this method:
- Different hair colors absorb drug metabolites (substances formed in metabolizing drugs) differently. For example, darker hair has a better binding ability for cocaine and amphetamines than lighter hair. This can lead to discrepancies.
- Drug exposure can produce a false positive on a hair follicle drug test. Even if a person has not used drugs, being in an environment where drugs are present can cause a false positive. There have been examples of people who have been around cocaine but have not used it and still tested positive for it.
- Certain religions object to cutting hair. For example, hair follicle drug testing may go against the religious beliefs of East Indian Sikhs.
Why Should You Speak with a Lawyer If You Have Been Ordered to Take a Hair Follicle Drug Test?
If you are on probation or parole for a criminal offense in Colorado, you should always consult with an experienced drug crime defense attorney about any new developments in your case. A positive result on a hair follicle drug test could significantly impact your freedom and your future, even if it is a false positive.
The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., is dedicated to giving everyone the legal support they are entitled to. We will utilize our extensive experience and resources to defend your rights. Call us now at (719) 401-0585 if you have been asked to take a hair follicle drug test so we can help you understand your options and get started on developing a solid legal plan.