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Hair Follicle Drug Test Brisbane: Overview, How It Works, & How to Conduct

04 March, 2024

A lab technician putting hair samples into a petri dish

Organisations use different methods of testing to identify those participating in illicit drug use to protect public safety. Many use a hair follicle drug test in Brisbane because it is a reliable method of detecting drug use over a long period. It works by analysing the drug metabolites in the hair shaft core. Moreover, the collection procedure is simple and painless. It requires 90 to 120 hair strands, which are sent to a lab for analysis.

Drug issues are a prevalent problem in communities. It affects people and increases their risks of illnesses. It can also affect those around them, including everyone in their workplace and fellow road users. Thus, drug testing is crucial for identifying individuals with substance use issues and providing them with treatment resources. It also helps deter substance misuse. This article will present an overview of hair drug testing, how it works, and how to conduct it.

Overview of Hair Follicle Drug Test in Brisbane

A hair follicle drug test in Brisbane is a method for detecting the presence of drugs in the system of an individual. It is a process that analyses a small sample of hair for traces of drug metabolites from consuming prescription or illegal drugs.

Many use this type of test over urine, saliva, and blood tests because of its lengthy detection window. Unlike other tests that focus on recent drug use, this can provide an accurate representation of the history of drug use of the individual. It is a popular choice for organisations conducting a thorough screening of an individual.

While there are several advantages of hair drug screening, there are also some disadvantages. For one, hair drug collection kits are limited to sample collection. Thus, individuals still need to send them to a laboratory for analysis. Furthermore, it can be expensive, with the minimum cost at about $100 for a standard hair drug test panel. Hence, it can help to research different facilities and determine priorities before choosing hair testing.

Advantages of Hair Testing

  • Hair drug screens can provide an objective and accurate drug use history of an individual with its 90-day detection window.
  • Testing provides employers, government agencies, and law enforcement thorough records regarding abstinence from drug misuse or lack thereof.
  • Testing helps healthcare providers identify drug use patterns, which they can use while forming a treatment plan.
  • The collection procedure is non-invasive. It also causes minimal discomfort during the process.
  • Hair samples are more difficult to tamper with than other testing methods.
  • Hair strands also do not degrade in quality as quickly as body fluids.
  • Laboratory analysis reduces the occurrence of false positive results.

A lab professional looking at the hair samples between their tweezers

How Hair Follicle Drug Test in Brisbane Works

A hair follicle drug test in Brisbane works by analysing samples of hair for the presence of drug metabolite residues. After the ingestion of drugs, the liver breaks the substance down, and the metabolites enter the various parts of the body, including the hair shaft. Hence, traces of these substances remain in the hair as it grows.

Hair drug tests are particularly reliable since it has a lengthy detection period. It is also accurate, making the results of this test valid for legal matters like family court trials. However, some factors can affect the detection window or interfere with the results of the test.

Genetic factors can affect the hair structure and the rate at which hair grows, potentially affecting the detection window. Additionally, external factors, such as hair treatments or exposure to certain chemicals, can also impact the test results. Thus, it is essential to consider various factors before implementing hair drug testing as part of a testing policy.

Window of Detection

The general drug detection window of hair follicle testing is 90 days. This applies to the common drugs of abuse, such as amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis (THC), cocaine, and opiates. Some laboratories are offering a period of detection for drugs for up to a year.

However, it is vital to note that the necessary length of the hair strand also increases as the detection window does. Hair grows approximately 1 cm per month. A 3.8cm long hair strand is required for a three-month detection period. Meanwhile, a 15.6 cm hair sample is the minimum for a year-long detection window.

A professional placing hair follicles into a tube

How to Conduct Hair Follicle Drug Test in Brisbane

There are several steps to follow to properly conduct a hair follicle drug test in Brisbane. Firstly, the individual must decide if they wish to use testing kits to collect the samples remotely or go to the facility of a drug testing service provider. These samples are then sent to drug testing labs for analysis.

Before they start the analysis, the lab technicians must first wash the hair to remove contaminants that may interfere with testing. Afterwards, they submerge the specimen into a liquid to reveal the hair shaft core. Then, to trace the substances in the specimen, laboratories use various techniques to analyse the samples.

One method for hair drug screening analysis is the Enzyme-Linked Immunoassay (ELISA) test. It is used for initial screening using antibodies that bind to the drug molecules. Another technique is Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). It is considered the gold standard for laboratory confirmation testing because it can accurately quantify the substances in the sample. It may take 24-72 hours to release the results report.

Collection Process

The collection process for a hair drug screening starts with determining which type of hair samples to collect. Most use head hair for testing, but body hair samples are also valid. Generally, they should gather about 90 to 12 hair strands, which weigh between 50 to 100 mg. The hair collector can take samples from different parts of the scalp to avoid causing a bald spot.

During this, they must carefully ensure the strands are of sufficient length for the test. The collector should also carefully place them into a sterile container to avoid contamination or damage to the samples.

Conclusion

There are various reasons to conduct a hair follicle drug test in Brisbane. It is an accurate method for tracing metabolites of drugs and alcohol in the system of a person. One of its main advantages is its lengthy detection window of 90 days. Moreover, it is harder to tamper with than the other drug test samples, like saliva and urine. To conduct this test, a collector must gather about 90 to 120 hair strands from the scalp or body.

After collection, they send the samples to a laboratory for analysis. There, they may use methods like ELISA and GC-MS to analyse the metabolites in the core of the hair follicle. Hair testing can provide accurate results fit for legal purposes. They also present accurate drug use history. The reports for this test typically have a 24-72 hour turnaround time. However, it can be expensive compared to oral fluid or urine testing.

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