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Hair Follicle Drug Test Victoria: Overview And Its Advantages

12 March, 2024

A lab technician placing the hair samples in a tube using a tweezer

A hair follicle drug test in Victoria is a type of testing to detect drug usage over an extended period of time. It involves collecting a small sample of hair and analysing it for the presence of drug molecules. Accordingly, hair drug testing offers numerous advantages. Foremost, the test can detect drug consumption for up to 90 days. Moreover, the hair collection procedure is non-invasive. Additionally, the analytical techniques used provide a high level of accuracy and reliability.

Drug addiction is a severe issue that affects individuals. Hence, drug testing has become a common practice. There are various drug testing methods, such as urine testing, oral fluid testing, and blood testing. However, hair follicle drug testing has become increasingly popular. This is due to its ability to detect substances over a more extended period of time. The following sections will present an overview of hair follicle testing in Victoria, how it works, and its advantages.

Overview of Hair Follicle Drug Tests in Victoria

The hair follicle drug test in Victoria is a form of drug testing used to screen for the presence of drug classes in the system. It can detect illicit drugs, prescription medications, and alcohol. The procedure typically begins with the collection of hair samples. Then, the conductor will forward the specimen to a laboratory for analysis. Accordingly, the lab will conduct analytical techniques.

Employers commonly conduct hair drug tests as part of their pre-employment screening or random testing. This helps them create a safe and drug-free working environment. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies also rely on hair testing. This is to monitor individuals on probation or parole. The testing can provide a comprehensive insight into the long-term drug use patterns of a person.

Moreover, health professionals may use hair follicle testing to monitor substance abuse in patients. Similarly, rehabilitation centres often employ these tests to monitor individuals undergoing substance abuse treatment programs. Additionally, individuals themselves may choose to undergo hair sample drug testing to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining a drug-free lifestyle.

Detectable Substances

The following are the wide range of substances that hair testing can detect:

  • Illicit drugs: Hair testing can identify the presence of illegal drugs. This may include cocaine, cannabis, heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamine. These substances can pose significant risks to users.
  • Prescription medications: In addition to illegal drugs, hair testing can monitor the existence of prescription drugs. This may include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl, dexamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and other controlled substances. The detection of these substances is essential to eliminate their abuse.
  • Ethanol: The testing method can also detect ethanol. It is an intoxicating agent found in alcoholic beverages. This detection is valuable for alcohol testing.

Three professionals working in a laboratory

How Hair Follicle Drug Test in Victoria Works

When an individual consumes drugs, the substances travel through the bloodstream and eventually reach hair follicles. As the blood supply nourishes the hair follicles, traces of drugs are deposited into the growing hair strands. This embeds within the hair shaft. Accordingly, hair follicle drug tests in Victoria typically begin with collecting hair samples and sending them to a laboratory for analysis.

Once it reaches the laboratory, the specimens undergo a series of procedures. Foremost, the conductor will wash the hair samples to remove external contaminants. Consequently, professionals will forward the specimens for screening and confirmation tests. They may use immunoassay testing for the initial screening. Additionally, they may utilise mass spectrometry (GC-MS or LC-MS) for confirmatory testing.

After the testing process is complete, a professional will interpret the testing results. It may include determining the presence or absence of substances in the hair specimens. Subsequently, a medical officer will generate a report. This may include detailing the testing process and the findings. The report will then be forwarded to the requesting party or individual.

Process of Collecting Hair Samples

Foremost, a suitable area of hair sample collection, typically the back of the head near the scalp, is carefully selected. This site is preferable due to its consistency and minimal visibility. Then, the collector utilises tools to part the hair and create sections. Next, a small portion of hair (90 to 120 strands) is cut close to the scalp using precise scissors.

Accordingly, documentation of the collection process is essential. Hence, conductors will accurately record information such as the collection site and the time and date of collection. Moreover, the conductor will carefully pack and label the samples to ensure proper identification and tracking.

A professional placing the hair specimens in a petri dish

Advantages of Hair Follicle Drug Tests in Victoria

The hair follicle drug test in Victoria offers several distinct advantages. This makes it a valuable tool for detecting and monitoring substance use. Foremost, hair testing provides an extended detection window, spanning up to three months. Hence, it allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the substance use history of a person. This provides insights into long-term patterns of drug consumption.

Secondly, hair drug testing involves non-invasive sample collection, unlike blood or urine analysis. This minimally intrusive process ensures comfort for the individual being tested. Thirdly, it is difficult to manipulate or adulterate due to the nature of the specimen. It provides a robust and tamper-resistant method for detecting substance use.

Fourthly, hair samples are inherently stable and resistant to degradation. This allows for reliable testing even when samples are stored for extended periods. Also, these characteristics ensure the accuracy and integrity of test results. Furthermore, the analytical techniques used in hair testing are sensitive and specific. Thus, it can detect even trace amounts of substances within the hair sample.

Factors that May Affect the Results

Several factors can influence the results of hair follicle testing. Firstly, external contaminants, such as exposure to certain substances, may lead to contamination of the hair samples. Secondly, using hair treatment products, including styling aids and bleaches, can impact the composition of the hair specimen. This can also influence the test results.

Additionally, hair colour and structure variations can affect the retention and detection of substances within the hair shaft. Differences in porosity, density, and melanin content may influence the distribution and retention of substances. Moreover, the frequency, duration, and intensity of substance use and sample handling can impact the results.

Conclusion

In conclusion, hair follicle drug tests in Victoria are becoming increasingly common. It is a method of testing that can detect the presence of substances in the system. Employers, law enforcement agencies, and health professionals commonly conduct the test. The process typically begins with the collection of hair samples. Subsequently, the conductor will send the samples to a testing facility. In the lab, it undergoes a series of procedures to determine the presence or absence of substances.

The testing method can detect a wide range of substances. This may include cocaine, cannabis, heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, dexamphetamine, and ethanol. Furthermore, hair testing offers several advantages. It provides an extended detection window. Additionally, the hair sample collection is non-invasive and challenging to manipulate. Also, it is sensitive and specific. However, it is crucial to recognise the factors that can affect the test results. This may include external contaminants and variations in hair structures.

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