Drug testing has been used in many applications. It has been used by companies, schools, in sports, and in criminal investigations. Detecting drug users at an early stage is important so that we can help the person and help him/her get back on the right track. Drug testing is also important to make sure that there is a safe environment in offices and in schools. In sports, having athletes using performance enhancing drugs would not be fair to the other athletes who really worked hard. Using these drugs is unfair and there’s no prestige in winning by using them.
Common drug testing methods include the urine drug testing, blood drug testing, saliva drug testing, and sweat drug testing. These methods offer a lot of convenience in terms of ease in getting samples and obtaining outright results. However, these methods have certain limitations. Samples of urine or blood can be easily tampered by mixing other substances with it. Another limitation of these drug testing methods is its window of detection. A positive result using urine, blood, saliva, or sweat drug tests would indicate usage of illegal drugs of the person at the very recent past. It does not allow for detecting drug use history of the person, which is very important in most cases.
These limitations are addressed by the latest technology in drug testing – the hair strand drug testing. When drugs are taken into our body, it circulates in the bloodstream. Since the bloodstream nourishes the developing hair follicles, the hair strand sample can be examined for traces of illegal drugs. Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) is used to measure the drug molecules in the hair. The drugs that are usually measured in hair strand drug testing include Cocaine, Opiates, Methamphetamins, Phencyclidine (PCP), and Marijuana (THC).
With hair strand drug testing, the detection window can extend up to 90 days. Drug users can abstain from drugs for a few days to two weeks before undergoing the other types of drug testing methods to pass the results but return to using it once they are cleared of the drug testing requirement. This strategy will not work in hair strand drug testing. Hair samples from other parts of the body can be used therefore being bald won’t be an excuse from undergoing the hair strand drug testing procedure. The hair strand drug testing method can also be used to determine whether the person tested positive is a drug abuser or just a onetime drug user.
Aside from the detection window of up to 90 days, hair samples are practically impossible to tamper or adulterate. This makes the hair strand drug testing the most versatile and the most reliable method in drug testing today.
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