DISA Return to Duty: Navigating DISA-Administrated Hair Follicle

DISA-Administrated Hair Follicle

DISA Return to Duty

Navigating DISA-Administrated Hair Follicle Drug Tests

Dear Readers,

In the world of drug testing, knowledge is power. Whether you’re an employer striving to maintain a safe and productive workplace, an employee who may face a drug test, or someone generally subject to hair drug testing, understanding the ins and outs of this methodology is crucial. AACS Counseling is here to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of hair drug testing, empowering you to confidently navigate drug testing situations, whether you’re on the employer or donor side.

What is Hair Drug Testing?

Hair drug testing, also known as hair follicle drug testing, is a method that detects the presence of drugs in an individual’s system. Unlike urine or blood tests that can only detect recent drug use, hair follicle drug testing offers an extended detection window, often up to 90 days.

How is the Hair Sample Collected?

Before the collection process begins, the donor must remove all hair accessories, such as hair ties, hats, or extensions. Once verified, the collector can proceed to gather 50mg of hair. The hair must be at least 1/2 inch long and not close to the top of the head. The collector uses scissors to obtain the sample as close to the scalp as possible and labels it as head hair.

When to Use Body Hair Samples

But what if you’re bald or lack enough head hair for collection? In such cases, the protocol calls for gathering body hair instead. You can combine hair from various body parts, including arms, legs, chest, underarms, and hair below the jawline. Hair beneath the jawline is considered body hair. It can be collected using collection shears if it’s of sufficient length or a single-use disposable razor. During this procedure, avoid using any shaving aids. The amount of body hair required for the collection remains consistent at 50mg.

How Does the Testing Work?

Once collected, the hair sample is sent to a certified laboratory, where it undergoes a two-step process:

Screening Test: The first step is an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test, a reliable methodology for routine drug testing. If the ELISA test detects drug metabolites, the sample proceeds to the next level of testing.

Confirmation Test: The second step employs gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) or liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) technologies, providing highly accurate results.

What Drugs Can Be Detected?

Hair drug testing can detect a range of substances, including, but not limited to: marijuana, cocaine, opioids (codeine, morphine, heroin, synthetic opioids), methamphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA), and PCP.

The Challenge of Cheating a Hair Drug Test

Cheating a hair drug test is exceedingly tricky. Shampoos and products marketed to defeat hair drug tests are largely ineffective. Unlike urine tests, which can be tampered with through dilution, substitution, or adulteration, hair tests are challenging to manipulate due to the sample’s collection under direct supervision.

Why Employers Choose Hair Drug Testing?

Employers opt for hair drug testing for several compelling reasons:

  • Longer window of detection: Hair testing can typically detect drug use up to 90 days prior, offering a more comprehensive perspective compared to short-term methodologies like urinalysis or oral fluid tests.
  • Less invasive: The collection process can be less embarrassing for some individuals than providing a urine sample.
  • Hard to cheat: The supervised sample collection and difficulty in deceiving the test provide employers with confidence in result accuracy.

Are Hair Drug Tests effective?

Hair drug testing, when combined with other testing methodologies, is a reliable and efficient method for identifying drugs in an individual’s system. A clear and concise drug testing policy, tailored to your specific industry, can contribute to a more positive testing experience and a healthier, more productive workplace. AACS’s seasoned SAPs can help you develop and implement a comprehensive drug testing policy specific to your industry and customizable for your workplace.

Reach out to our dedicated team for personalized assistance or refer a client to us, and let’s navigate the path to a drug-free and productive workplace together. In pursuit of a safer and healthier workplace.

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