Hair Drug Testing
An Important Tool In Onboarding New Patients
Hair drug testing is an ideal tool for clinicians to use with new patients, providing a baseline of previous medication and non-prescribed or illicit drug use. This method provides a view of drug use over the past 90
days as drugs are continually incorporated and sequestered in hair following use.
Hair testing should be used for detecting drug use over a longer period of time based on the patient’s medical history or current clinical presentation. It is an ideal risk assessment tool for clinicians to use with new patients to look for a history of drug use and potential drug-to-drug interactions.
In addition to the benefits at initial patient intake, hair testing can complement current therapy. This method can be useful in measuring long-term adherence for those recovering from substance use disorder and addiction, when drug abuse is suspected, or when a clinician wants the more continuous spectrum of use that hair testing provides. Substance-use disorder treatment centers, in-patient and out-patient facilities, drug counselors, methadone clinics and private-practice clinicians can benefit from hair drug testing.
Benefits of Hair Testing
Hair analysis provides a continuous look at drug use over the past 90 days as drug analytes are incorporated into hair as the body metabolizes drugs. Hair is a “diary” of drug use that provides no gap in the record and assesses drug use over the past three months. Hair drug testing is an ideal risk assessment tool for clinicians to use with new patients to look for a history of drug use.
One of the greatest strengths of hair drug testing is its long detection window that spans from seven days after drug use to up to three months reliably. In some instances, a substance can be spotted up to a year after ingestion. This knowledge is valuable in several areas of toxicology testing, including these:
Treatment Center and Addiction Testing
This method of testing can be useful in measuring long-term compliance for those recovering from substance use and addiction. Substance-use treatment centers, in-patient, and out-patient facilities, drug counselors, methadone clinics, private-practice physicians, and agents of the court can benefit from hair drug testing.
Medication Adherence Monitoring
The brief detection window associated with urine, blood and oral fluid makes it impossible to infer prolonged drug exposure from a single test. Hair drug testing can be part of an initial patient evaluation to gather a baseline history and determine risk. Self-reported risk assessments have a place in patient evaluation but are unreliable. Hair testing is a way to get truly objective data on the previous behavior of a patient.
There are multiple agencies with a legal interest in their clients’ sobriety, including judges, probation officers and attorneys, as the stakes are higher with individuals who are court-ordered into treatment. Hair drug testing can verify abstinence from specific drugs of interest over a three-month timeframe.
Navis Clinical Laboratories offers an extensive drug testing menu with over 180 metabolites and parent drugs, including more than 60 mental health testing options. Contact us for a complete list of drug testing options.