Hair Testing to Determine Drug Use

Now that President Donald Trump has signed a bill into law requiring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide Congress with an update on the state of guidelines for conducting hair testing within the next 60 days, American should move closer to a standard protocol for conducting hair testing.

The Need for a Uniform National Standard for Hair Testing

Why is this important? There are only a handful of labs in the country that perform hair testing. With the absence of regulations, no standard exists that all labs have to follow. Potentially, different labs “could” produce different results to the same test. Once a protocol is established, there will be a clear path to hair test implementation.

Hair Testing vs Urine Testing for Drug Use

Hair testing has many advantages over urine testing. It provides a 90-day detection window whereas a urine test will only show a positive result if usage occurs in the last few days. It is also easier to collect as the need for donor privacy is greatly reduced, and the collector has more control of the specimen.

Many companies that already perform hair testing in addition to DOT urine testing are finding that the positivity rate can be as much as 10 times greater than urine testing alone. This makes hair testing an excellent diagnostic tool when performing Pre-Employment, Random, and Return to Duty tests.

However, hair testing does not do a good job of showing usage over the last few days. Because of this, urine or oral testing remain better methods for Post-Accident and Reasonable Suspicion testing.

Employee Drug Testing for Public Safety

The government designed testing as a deterrent to keep illegal drug users from applying for safety-sensitive positions. Unfortunately, urine drug tests are easy to beat when a donor has a few days to prepare. Plus, it is much easier to “fake” a urine test than a hair test. Hair testing provides a valuable tool to encourage drug-free employees and, in turn, provides a safer workplace for your employees and a safer driving experience for the public. It is all about public safety and the bottom line cost to your company.

The Impact on Your Business

Nothing is approved yet, but it is never too early to learn more. We will continue to post updates as news progresses and are always available for questions.

If you decide to implement a hair testing policy or want to know more, let us know by emailing us at [email protected] or call us at (800) 501-0129.

Corporate Medical Services is a nationwide full-service MRO/TPA with programs for 24/7/365 Post Accident Testing, Sleep Apnea Testing & Therapy, and DOT Consortium management. We already provide MRO and TPA services for lots of clients and have experience in this area. We can help coordinate your testing needs across our network of 13,000+ clinics, and we work with all major labs.