How to Pass a Hair Follicle Test

A hair follicle test is commonly selected because it gives testers (employers, probation officers, investigators, etc.) the ability to see if you have used any substances in the past 90 days. The long date range provides important insight, which is why you may have to take a hair follicle test.

But how do you pass a hair follicle test? What if there’s a possibility that you’ve used a substance within the last 90 days that will show up?

This article explains your chances of passing a hair follicle test. 

Table of Contents

Why Do I Have to Take a Hair Follicle Test?

There are many reasons why an employer might want to get a drug test done. If employees are using drugs, then it can put their employer at risk of accidents. Or increased absenteeism, lower productivity, and higher insurance costs for the company.

Hair follicle testing, just like most other types of drug tests, helps to decrease these risks. It filters out drug users in the workforce and stops some people from using drugs while working there.

But, why do a hair follicle test? And how do you pass a hair follicle drug test? Using hair to test for drug abuse is the only testing sample that gives the employer a 90-day history of drug use. This means you would have to stay off drugs for 90 days for your hair follicle test to be clean.

Hair follicle tests allow drug use patterns to be traced, which gives the testers the ability to truly see if there’s a substance use issue present in your life. Some individuals knowing they have a drug test coming up, may attempt to clear their system, which is far easier to achieve with urine drug tests.

How Are Hair Follicle Tests Performed?

For a hair follicle drug test, there is a two-tiered testing process used. First, a portion of the laboratory technicians screens your hair using special equipment. This equipment is called ELISA or an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. ELISA is a very reliable method used for routine drug testing.

It is a rapid screen technology that uses the antibodies attached to a plate in the equipment to detect the drugs.
If the hair comes back positive through this equipment, it is run through a second test to be sure.

The second test is the confirmation test. The second test is performed with another portion of the hair sample with either gas chromatography-mass spectrometry or GC-MS to provide the most accurate results.

These tests for hair follicle drug tests are very accurate and reliable. It helps to develop a comprehensive drug test. Drugs tested for hair follicle testing are amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, marijuana, PCP, and more.

If requested, the test can also include drugs like oxycodone or semi-synthetic opiates. A hair follicle drug test is most effective in finding long-term patterns of use. The large range of testing available is such an excellent option for pre-employment or random drug tests done in the workplace.

Hair follicle testing should not be used for reasonable suspicion testing or post-accident testing. For these, the drug testing procedure should be for the timeline that is closest to the incident.

Hair follicle tests may be necessary in legal cases where Child Protective Services are involved.

How Can Hair Follicle Tests Detect Drugs in My Hair?

A network of capillary blood vessels surrounds hair follicles from under the scalp. As most do, drugs that end up in the bloodstream will incorporate and bind to the growing hair follicles underneath your scalp.

It typically takes about 5 to 10 days for hair that contains drugs to reach the scalp’s surface based on average hair growth. The standard length of hair for this test is about 1 and ½ inches from the root end.

As hair grows, substances being used are deposited into the follicles, and this is why 1 and 1/2 inches are taken.

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How Long Do Hair Follicle Test Results Take?

The normal turnaround to get results for a hair follicle drug test differ based on the actual result. If it is negative, results are usually released within 24-48 hours, but technicians must put it through secondary testing if it is positive.

The secondary testing causes the results to take an additional 24 to 72 hours to process confirmatory testing. If you are curious as to what drugs you are tested for in the drug test, you will find the list on the report given to you.

If you were positive for this test, the lab keeps your sample for a year.

Laboratories must maintain laboratory results on file for a specific duration, typically two years.

If you’re still looking for how to pass a hair follicle test, know this – a way to beat these tests does not exist. But, the chance of somebody beating a hair follicle drug test is minimal because every hair sample is carefully removed and observed.

The hair also cannot be collected from a brush. It has to be a fresh hair specimen directly from the donor. If a donor has little or no hair, technicians will remove the hair from elsewhere on the body, such as body hair, like the chest or underarm. Even if the hair had been bleached or dyed, it still does not affect the results.

What do I do if I Know I’m Going to Fail a Hair Follicle Test?

If you know you’re going to fail a hair follicle test, it can be a scary feeling. It’s especially scary if your job, children, or career is on the line.
What you do from here on can make a solid difference in your outcome.

The first thing that you should stop doing is attempting to find ways around the hair follicle test. True, you may be able to fool people for a certain amount of time, but drug use is progressive and your situation will certainly get worse if you don’t get help.

In a critical situation with much on the line, honesty with yourself and others is the best policy.

You’ve already been told to take the test. If you refuse to take a hair follicle test, they will treat your situation as if you are positive.
If you pretend as if you haven’t used any substances and then take the test, you will be found out.

The best thing to do in your situation is to look for a drug and alcohol treatment center to take you in and help you. Whether you choose outpatient or inpatient treatment, it can truly help whatever situation you have on the line.

Substance use disorders are seen as real medical and mental health diseases. Therefore, if you’re scared to lose your job, you may be able to put in FMLA paperwork stating that you need time off of your job to seek treatment for your addiction.

In the case where you’re in legal trouble, or your career is on the line, getting into treatment will be a huge plus to those overseeing your case.

Being honest about having a problem and showing the willingness to get better is a big step, and if you stick to your sobriety, you will be rewarded.

The Best Way to Pass a Hair Follicle Test

The best way to pass a hair follicle test is to begin the process of recovery and stop using drugs. Addiction is a treatable disorder. There are plenty of research-based methods that help those that need to stop using drugs.

It helps people to be able to continue their own productive lives without drug use. This is known as being in recovery.

Among the therapy options available, behavioral therapies seem to be the most helpful. It teaches patients tools to be able to handle stressful situations as well as other triggers that may cause someone to relapse.

If a user participates in therapy, it increases the effectiveness of any medications they may be taking. It also helps to make people remain in treatment longer versus leaving early for whatever reason that may come up.

Taking care of yourself is very important, especially when in recovery and trying to clean yourself up in order to get back to daily productive life.

The Solution You Need and How to Get Help

Sobriety is attainable through the right treatment. We are an addiction resource center that is equipped to provide solutions for individuals in tough situations, just like you. And guess what? The call and consultation are completely free!

If you have more questions or concerns for yourself or a loved one, please contact us at (888) 906-0952.

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Our writers are experienced in everything related to addiction, mental health, rehab and recovery.

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