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Can Drug Abusers _Pass_ a Hair Test_

We’ll just cut to the chase here and answer that question. The only way to be certain that you’re going to receive a negative result on a drug test is by not using drugs. But, some people who abuse drugs, whether illicit or prescripton, who find out that they have a company drug test coming up can become desperate because a positive test result means termination in the majority of drug-free workplaces. Subsequently, they’re willing to try almost anything to mask their drug use.

There are several reasons that employers drug test. Some companies only choose to require Pre-Employment drug testing and once hired, the employee is never asked to take a test again. On the other hand, some employers use the Department of Transportation (DOT) testing regimen. If that’s the case there are a number of scenarios that lead to an employee drug test.

Reasons to drug test

In addition to pre-employment testing, DOT drug testing policies are in place for the following:

  • Random drug test—Just as the name sounds, periodically throughout the year, all employees names are entered into a pool and a specific number are drawn out. If your name is pulled, you are ordered to report for a drug test.
  • Post-Accident drug test—as the name implies this type of drug test is required if an employoee is involved in an accident. It’s normally a blood test.
  • Reasonable Suspicion drug test—If someone exhibits signs of drug impairment, supervisors document their suspicions and, then, approach the employee to explain why they are required to take a drug test.
  • Probationary drug test—After sucessfully completing a treatment program, the DOT requires a probationary period even though the driver is likely to be working for another company. Some companies that aren’t mandated by the DOT allow a “second chance,” but the employee is subjected to set number of drug tests over a specified period of time.

Some employers have drug-free policies for all the above reasons to test, but it isn’t set in stone that they must. Employers who aren’t mandated by the DOT are free to mix and match, only including the drug testing policies that best suit their business.

The urine drug test may not be on top much longer

When employers first began drug testing, the urine drug test was the only one available on the market. It was in 1986 that President Ronald Regan ordered that federal workers holding “sensitive positions” be tested for drugs. It was an effort to promote drug-free workplaces and it was successful.

Employers in the general workforce took notice and when drug-free workplace incentives came about, such as lower workers’ compensation insurance premiums, the numbers began to go up even more. In the early days of drug testing, just drinking a lot of water prior to a drug test could cause a false negative test result. It wasn’t long though before drug testing technology, coupled with the invention of more sophisticated lab equipment, was able to determine when the urine was diluted.

That didn’t stop the problem of falsified drug test results though. Products claiming to rid the body of toxins, otherwise known as drug metabolites, began popping up on the market before much time passed. Home remedies are all over the internet as well. Lastly, there’s the problem of people smuggling “fake pee” into the testing facility. Once in the designated rest room, the employee uses the synthetic urine as their sample by simply pouring it into the container provided for the urine specimen..

Always improving

The drug testing industry continued to advance with the creation of the oral fluid and hair follicle drug tests. However, the oral fluid test has a much shorter detection window than either the urine or hair tests. There were concerns voiced about the reliability of the hair test because some said that environmental factors could possibly cause a false positive result. Moreover, studies have shown that some ethnicity groups with dark hair could be more likely to obtain a false positive test result as well.

The hair follicle drug test is the most expensive drug testing method on the market, with the exception of the blood test. The blood test is rarely used, however, because it is considered very invasive and must be performed in a medical facility. Employers are discovering though, that the extended benefits that the hair test offers make the added expense less of a factor.

Added benefit of the hair test

It turns out that when drug metabolites collect in the hair follicle, they actually fuse with the hair as it grows out of the head. That means that they become part of the hair itself. There is virtually know way that they can be removed with the toxin removing shampoos that are available in stores and online today.

Moreover, a hair drug test gives you a whopping 90-day period of detection. Did you know that?  If an employee uses drugs within the three months prior to the test, it’s going to show up on the test. That’s right. Each and every time drugs are used, it is seen on the result. There is no way around the fact that the hair test is extremely accurate. If someone uses drugs and submits a hair sample, they’re busted.

It’s for that reason that employers are putting down the debate and determining whether the hair test will be a good fit for their business. More and more, we’re seeing the answer to be yes. In fact the trucking industry is being praised because, even though the official mandated test is still the urine drug test, employers are choosing to have their drivers submit a hair sample as well. In addition to the extended detection window, it has been documented that when people come in to apply for driving jobs and are presented with the information that there is a hair follicle test required, they turn and walk out.

Something tells us they were using illicit substances or misusing prescription medications. And, they were wise enough to realize that there’s no way to “beat” a hair follicle drug test.


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