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Hair Follicle Testing Melbourne: Overview, Services & Process

20 March, 2024

A lab professional putting hair samples on a petri dish

Hair follicle testing in Melbourne is one of the most accurate and reliable methods to determine drug use history. This test can detect illegal drugs over a period of 90 days, making it an excellent tool to determine if a person has a substance use disorder. Individuals may go to diagnostic centres or clinics to perform the test or use hair test kits. It involves cutting a small sample of hair and sending it to a laboratory for analysis.

Drug screening is a vital practice in many settings. It is especially helpful in the workplace to determine if a current or prospective employee has substance abuse. In particular, a hair drug test is crucial in situations where chronic drug use needs to be identified. Melbourne offers several options to avail of this test. This article will present an overview of hair follicle testing, available services, and the process of conducting the test.

An Overview of Hair Follicle Testing in Melbourne

Hair follicle testing in Melbourne is common in safety-sensitive industries like mining, construction, and transportation. These workplaces typically involve working in high places or the operation of heavy equipment and vehicles. Employees working under the influence of drugs or alcohol increase the risk of accidents. This can have negative impacts not only to the individual or company but to the general public as well.

The hair drug test offers the longest detection period among other types of test methods. Unlike urine, saliva, or blood tests that can trace substances for a few hours to days, hair can detect drugs for months. Therefore, it is a highly accurate and reliable method of identifying drug use patterns over an extended period.

Nevertheless, there are certain considerations to be aware of. Hair tests can determine consumption patterns but not the actual time when the substances were taken. It is also not ideal for detecting recent drug usage. Additionally, it requires laboratory analysis to process the samples.

Importance for Workplace Safety

  • Hair testing can identify employees who are using illicit drugs within a specific time frame.
  • It helps determine if a person has substance abuse or addiction problems and extends treatment support.
  • It serves as a deterrent for employees not to use drugs at any point during employment.
  • Hair tests for pre-employment help identify job applicants who have a history of drug use and may pose a safety risk to the workplace. It aids employers in making informed hiring decisions.
  • Ensure a drug-free workplace and improve employee morale in the long run.
  • Reduce liability risks for employers by preventing incidents that may result in legal action.

A professional taking a hair sample from a test tube

Services Offered for Hair Follicle Testing in Melbourne

Various laboratories and test centres offer hair follicle testing in Melbourne. These facilities can conduct the test in clinics, where individuals can provide hair samples. Moreover, some provide mobile drug testing for on-site screening. This option involves setting up a mobile lab at a workplace or specific location, making it convenient for employers to conduct testing on their employees.

Companies may utilise hair testing for pre-employment purposes. This helps determine if a person has drug dependency issues. Since it has an extended period of detection, it is difficult to manipulate the results of the test. Furthermore, it can also be used in random testing. Employers may use it to monitor the drug use of employees.

Additionally, individuals can purchase hair test kits in Melbourne. The test kits are available in pharmacies or online, allowing individuals to conduct the test in the comfort of their homes. However, they require the samples to be sent to a laboratory. Nevertheless, it can provide convenience and privacy through discreet packaging and shipping.

Types of Testing Methods Available

The most common types of hair tests are ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) techniques. ELISA is an initial screening method that detects the presence of drugs in hair samples. Negative results mean the person has not consumed illicit substances in the past months.

A non-negative result from ELISA indicates drug presence. It is advisable to undergo confirmatory testing using the GC-MS method. This procedure uses advanced laboratory analysis, which provides more accurate and detailed information on the substances present. The results of this test are final and are admissible in court.

A professional using a microscope in a lab

Process of Hair Follicle Testing in Melbourne

The process of hair follicle testing in Melbourne starts with the collection of hair samples. A collector cuts a few strands of hair, usually from the back of the head and near the scalp. Body hair can be used if the head hair is unavailable. After the sample collection, the first step involves washing the hair to remove any external contaminants on the surface.

Subsequently, the sample undergoes a series of analytical procedures to extract the drug metabolites from the hair shaft. Gas chromatography separates the chemical components of the sample, while mass spectrometry helps identify and measure the specific compounds present. This combination of techniques ensures accurate and reliable results.

This test can provide a detailed report of the types of drugs present and the patterns of usage. An advantage of this test is that the sample remains stable in various conditions. External contaminants like shampoo and dust do not easily affect the results. Finally, the entire procedure is in a controlled laboratory setting, minimising the risk of adulteration or false positives or negatives.

Window of Detection

The hair follicle test can detect drug and alcohol use for up to 90 days. It is important to note that the length of the hair sample corresponds to the approximate detection window for drug use. Generally, the first 1.5 inches of hair closest to the scalp reflects usage within the past three months.

Since it takes time for hair to grow, this test cannot detect drug use within the past few days. On the other hand, hair testing is more effective for detecting long-term use. It is also difficult for individuals to manipulate the results by abstaining for a few days.

Conclusion

Hair follicle testing in Melbourne is a reliable and accurate method for detecting drug and alcohol use. Various test centres and laboratories offer testing services for individuals and companies. It involves collecting a sample of hair and conducting advanced laboratory techniques. Moreover, this test can provide a detailed report of the substances present. Employers utilise this test to determine possible drug addiction among workers. It also helps deter substance abuse within the workplace.

One of the advantages of hair follicle testing is its ability to provide a long detection window of up to 90 days. It is also resistant to external contamination and manipulation. Nevertheless, individuals and employers should note that the presence of drugs does not necessarily mean current impairment. It is possible to get positive results even if a person has stopped taking drugs. Knowing these factors can help make informed decisions.

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