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Hair Follicle Testing Perth: Overview & the Collection Procedure

01 March, 2024

A lab technician holding hair samples with a tweezer

Hair follicle testing in Perth is a type of drug test. It involves collecting a small sample of hair from the scalp of donors. The process involves cutting a small section of hair close to the scalp. A lab then analyses this sample to detect any traces of drugs or other substances. Many professionals consider fair follicle testing reliable for drug testing because it offers a longer detection window compared to other types of tests.

Identifying substance abuse is crucial in different settings. Individuals with drug or alcohol addiction have a higher likelihood of experiencing poisoning and developing long-term health conditions. Furthermore, it presents risks to road and workplace safety. Therefore, drug testing becomes crucial in maintaining a safe and healthy community. One of the methods is hair testing. This article will provide an overview of hair testing, including its collection procedures and detectable substances.

Overview of Hair Follicle Testing in Perth

Hair follicle testing in Perth is a process to identify the presence of drug classes in the system of people. It can detect illegal drugs, prescription or Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications, and even alcohol indicators. The testing involves the collection of hair samples. Then, these specimens are sent to a laboratory for testing. Nevertheless, this method has the lengthiest window of detection, usually a 3-month window.

The hair follicle drug test is common in workplaces. Employers may include testing as part of the pre-employment process. This is a standard procedure to confirm that potential employees are not using drugs. Furthermore, employers may employ the method for random testing, reasonable suspicion testing, post-accident testing, and blanket testing. These testing programs can ensure a safe and drug-free work environment.

Authorities, such as law enforcement agencies, may also utilise hair testing. This information may be relevant to a legal or criminal investigation. Additionally, healthcare providers or medical professionals may use hair drug tests. This is to assess patterns of drug use and identify substance abuse issues. Accordingly, they can provide and guide treatment plans for their patients.

Advantages Over the Other Testing Methods

  • Accuracy: The method is known for its high accuracy. This is due to the incorporation of drug metabolites in the hair shaft.
  • Non-invasive: The hair collection process is a non-invasive procedure.
  • Drug detection window: It can detect a longer history of drug use compared to other testing methods.
  • Comprehensive insight: Hair testing provides a comprehensive review of the drug use history of a person. It can reveal long-term drug use patterns and identify repeated usage over an extended period.
  • Difficult to cheat: It is challenging to tamper with hair samples. This ensures the integrity of the testing process and the reliability of the results.

A lab technician inserting hair samples using a tweezer in a small container

Collection Procedures for Hair Follicle Testing in Perth

The procedures for hair follicle testing in Perth involve the collection of a hair sample. The testing officer takes a small sample of hair from the testee near the scalp. Then, they place the specimen in a secure container and send it to a laboratory for analysis.

In the laboratory, technicians follow a set procedure to extract and identify drugs present in the hair sample. First, they wash the sample to remove any external contaminants. Then, they cut it into small pieces and used a solvent to extract the drugs from the hair. Next, they analyse this solution using various techniques to identify and quantify any substances in the hair follicle.

After the analysis, technicians deliver the results to the requesting organisation or individual. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of drugs or toxins detected in the hair sample, including their levels and timeframe of use. This information enables assessment of the drug use history and informed decisions about the current or future involvement of the person in certain activities.

Head Hair vs. Body Hair

Head hair and body hair have distinct characteristics when it comes to drug testing through hair follicles. Since head hair grows faster, it covers a shorter period, usually reflecting drug use within the past 90 days.

Meanwhile, body hair, such as chest or leg hair, grows slower and tends to have a longer detection window. This is because it has a longer growth cycle compared to head hair. When head hair is unavailable or too short for testing, testers often use body hair. However, its slower growth rate means it may detect drug use over a longer period.

A hand holding various kinds of pills and capsules

Detectable Substances for Hair Follicle Testing in Perth

Hair follicle testing in Perth can detect different types of substances. Foremost, the drug testing method can monitor the presence of illicit drugs. These substances are prohibited by law for possession, use, or distribution. Some common detectable illegal drugs in hair testing include marijuana (THC), cocaine, amphetamine substances, heroin, and methamphetamine.

In addition to illicit substances, hair testing can identify the existence of prescription medications in the body. This may include opioids (oxycodone and morphine), benzodiazepines, sedatives, and stimulation. Additionally, it can detect the presence of Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs. These medications may involve cough syrups containing codeine or other substances.

Moreover, hair testing can monitor the presence of ethanol or alcohol. It is a common ingredient in many alcoholic beverages. This provides information about the alcohol consumption of an individual over some time. Therefore, this helps evaluate long-term alcohol consumption habits. All in all, hair follicle testing is a comprehensive and reliable method for detecting a wide range of substances,

Implications of a Non-Negative Result

A non-negative result may lead to various implications. In the workplace, this can trigger disciplinary actions. This may include warnings, suspension, transfer of duties, or even termination of employment. Accordingly, for legal proceedings, this may affect the decision-making process of legal authorities. This may be a disadvantage for the testing individual.

In healthcare settings, a non-negative result prompts healthcare professionals to engage in discussion. These may encompass further assessments, medical consultations, treatment planning, and support services. It is essential to have a confirmation testing process to validate the initial testing result before taking any action.

Conclusion

Hair follicle testing in Perth detects drug use reliably over a three-month period. Workplaces commonly use it to screen potential employees and conduct random or suspicion-based tests. Law enforcement and healthcare professionals also employ this method for legal purposes and to address substance abuse concerns. The process involves collecting a small hair sample near the scalp and analysing it in a laboratory for drug presence. The results guide decisions regarding treatment plans and participation in certain activities.

There are various substances that hair testing can detect. These include illicit drugs, prescription medications, and alcohol. A non-negative result can have serious consequences, such as disciplinary actions at work or legal implications. In healthcare, it prompts discussions for further assessment and support. Confirmatory testing is crucial before taking any action. Overall, hair follicle testing provides comprehensive and reliable information that can guide decision-making in various settings.

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