Drug testing has become a common part of pre-employment screening, screening of employees after a work related injury, and even in the management of probation and parole cases. If you are required to take a drug test for any reason, it is important to become familiar with the types of drugs tests and certain tests may be requested.
While we typically think of drug tests, it is the urine drug test that often comes to mind first. But, as technology has advanced, drug tests can not be performed using saliva from the mouth and even hair follicles. If you have a drug test request made for you, do not be surprised if the test includes a hair follicle drug test.
As a drug test or drug screening that is quite expensive, many employers feel the use of the hair follicle drug test is important especially when hiring employees for high security positions. Because the hair follicle drug test can determine drug use as far as 12 months back, employers feel it is appropriate to use the higher level of drug test in specific situations.
In most cases, when a work injury occurs, the hair follicle drug test is not used as the traditional urine drug test can pinpoint the immediate presence of drugs which may be affecting an employee’s ability to work and, as a result, be used as a defense in denying workers’ compensation benefits. But, in pre-employment screening, the hair follicle drug test has a more relevant application. Even with a drug test cleanse, you typically can not manipulate the results of a hair follicle drug test and this makes the test more enticing to employers.
In terms of legal consequences, some probation officers and parole officers are expending the costs for hair follicle drug test but typically these are used in cases where the individual has been charged with a crime that is related to a drug offense. In counties, states, and federal cases where no drug use was involved, and where budgets are tight, the traditional urine test may be used.
Hair follicle drug tests have a greater degree of reliance and results are difficult to manipulate. Unlike urine drug tests, where measures can be taken to mask the presence of alcohol or drugs, the hair follicle test is traditional not manipulated easily and is used in high crime cases and even in immigration. If you are concerned about your drug or alcohol use, it is best to be upfront and honest prior to a drug screening especially if you are ordered to participate in a hair follicle drug test.
Sources: Passing Drug Tests, by Kenn Biscranium