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Drug Test Hair Cost: The Need to Know

07 March, 2024

A healthcare professional looking at hair samples on a dish

Hair follicle drug testing is one of the options for drug screening. Organisations utilise it for pre-employment testing or probation requirements. However, they should understand the hair drug test cost for budgeting and planning. A factor affecting the price of a hair follicle drug test is the illicit drug type being tested. Moreover, the detection window can influence the cost. Hence, hair testing is more expensive than other methods, like urine testing. Also, there are different components to the test.

A hair drug screen involves collecting head hair samples. Head hair growth is relatively consistent, at about half an inch per month. Consequently, this allows for a longer window of detection compared to other tests. Nevertheless, professionals may collect body hair samples sometimes. Before availing of hair testing services or kits, people should know the elements surrounding the cost. Thus, the article will present the factors affecting the price, how it compares with others, and the cost components.

Factors Affecting Hair Drug Test Cost

Factors affecting hair drug test costs can vary depending on several key elements. One element that can impact the overall price is the type of drugs. Some substances require more complex and expensive testing methods. As a result, this can drive up the cost. Another factor is the turnaround time for obtaining the test results. Faster outcomes may be pricier, while slower results may be more cost-effective.

In addition, the location of the testing facility can play a role in determining the cost, as some areas may have higher overhead costs. Moreover, the quality and accuracy of the hair follicle drug test can influence the overall cost. Thorough testing methods are usually more expensive due to the advanced technology and expertise required. Furthermore, the level of experience of technicians can affect the price.

The detection time can also impact the cost. Laboratory hair drug tests can identify drug use over a lengthy period, which may require more comprehensive analysis, resulting in a more expensive price. Also, the number of drugs can influence the cost, as testing for multiple substances will require more resources and labour.

Complexity of the Testing Process

  • Sample Collection: Collecting human hair specimens can be complex. It requires specialised training and expertise to ensure accuracy and reliability.
  • Specimen Preparation: After collection, technicians must clean the samples before testing. It includes removing any external contaminants that could impact the test results.
  • Analytical Techniques: Hair follicle drug testing requires advanced methods to detect and quantify drugs or their metabolites.
  • Test Interpretation: Interpreting the test outcome can be complex due to various factors like external contamination. Expert knowledge is necessary for precise interpretation.
  • Result Reporting: Professionals should confidently communicate information on the detected drugs, their concentration, and applicable cut-off values to the concerned parties.

A lab technician holding a urine sample container

Hair Drug Test Cost Comparison with Other Testing Methods

Organisations are utilising hair drug tests more often to screen individuals for substance use. However, hair drug test costs can be higher compared to others. Nevertheless, the benefits of hair screening outweigh the higher cost. It can identify drug use for a lengthy period, up to 90 days, unlike urine testing, which only detects recent drug use.

Urine tests can only identify drug use within a short timeframe. Therefore, individuals who may have taken drugs recently can easily pass it. Conversely, a hair test can detect drug use for up to three months after usage. The extended detection period justifies the slightly higher price tag of around $100 to $150 per test compared to urine tests costing between $20 to $50.

Moreover, hair tests are not affected by factors such as hydration levels or sample dilution. These elements make hair testing more difficult to tamper with or cheat. Thus, it can be more expensive than saliva tests because oral fluid testing is more susceptible to interference from external factors. Subsequently, individuals may find the investment in hair drug testing worth it to ensure a more precise screening process.

Average Cost of Hair Testing

While many factors can influence the cost of hair testing, the average cost typically ranges from $100 to $150 per test. This cost may vary depending on the specific drugs, the number of substances being screened, and the complexity of the analysis necessary.

Hair drug testing cost includes laboratory analysis, collecting the hair sample, and interpreting the results. The collection process can be more expensive if an on-site collector is needed or the hair of the donor is difficult to access. Nevertheless, the thoroughness of hair testing makes it a valuable investment for people seeking reliable drug testing results.

Three technicians discussing inside a lab

Components of Hair Drug Test Cost

The components of hair drug test cost can vary depending on various factors. The first component is the actual collection of the hair sample. Professionals can do this at a testing facility. Moreover, people can do it at home using a hair collection kit. The cost of sample collection can range from around $50 to $100, depending on the location and type of centre.

The second component of the cost is the laboratory analysis. Once the technician or individual collects the sample of hair, they send it to a certified lab for testing. The lab analyses the hair strands for the presence of drugs and provides a detailed report of the findings. Lab fees can range from $100 to $200, depending on the number of drugs and the complexity of the analysis.

The last component of hair testing cost is reporting and interpreting the results. After lab analysis, practitioners generate a report with the drug test outcomes. Some providers may include a general interpretation, while others may charge an additional fee for a more detailed interpretation or consultation with a toxicologist. The cost can range from $25 to $75.

Reporting and Analysis Costs

The reporting and analysis costs for hair testing can range from $25 to $75. These may include the lab fee, the number of drugs and the volume of samples. The price may also include additional services requested, such as confirmation testing or expert testimony. Generally, the cost is relatively expensive compared to other drug testing options.

Hair drug testing requires specialised equipment and expertise for accurate results. It employs various techniques, such as immunoassay and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), to find drugs in hair specimens. Subsequently, the results detail the drug concentrations, detection windows, and potential adulteration or tampering indicators.

Conclusion

Hair drug test costs can differ depending on several factors. Some factors affecting the price include the type of substances, turnaround time, location, expertise, and detection window. Thus, individuals and organisations must consider their options and budget accordingly. Hair drug testing can be more expensive than other testing methods, like urine or saliva tests, due to the specialised equipment and procedures involved. However, it is crucial to note that hair drug testing offers more accurate and reliable results.

The cost components of hair drug testing include the expenses associated with sample collection, laboratory analysis, and reporting of results. People should weigh the benefits of this type of testing against its cost to determine the most suitable approach for their needs and requirements. While a hair drug test may be more costly than others, it offers several advantages. Those interested in it can check with service providers. They can also purchase testing kits online or in-store.

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