What is Hair Drug Testing?
Hair testing searches for drugs within the hair shaft to determine whether illicit drugs are present.
Drugs are metabolised by our organs and enter the blood stream, both the parent drug and its metabolites are deposited into the follicle of the growing hair. As hair grows these trace amounts of chemicals deposit into the cortex of the hair strand and remain where they are deposited.
As hair grows beyond the scalp line, the chemicals are collected with a hair sample. This process forms a historical record of use. Each centimetre of hair holds approximately 30 days of drug usage history. A sample snipped close to the scalp contains a chronological usage record of drug type and quantity.
Is all hair testing the same?
No it isn't.
Psychemedics’ patented method for detecting drugs in hair uses proprietary immunoassay and state-of-the-art GC/MS/MS or LC/MS/MS confirmation to measure the drug molecules and metabolites permanently entrapped in hair which were incorporated following ingestion. This technology offers a significantly greater detection ability than other methods of analysing hair or body fluids.
Psychemedics uses its proprietary digestion method to remove virtually 100% of the drugs from the hair, thereby increasing detection capabilities.
Other laboratories may leach drug from the hair, leaving behind or destroying some of the drug in the process.
Psychemedics also employs an extensive wash procedure on test samples and analyses the wash to ensure that any potential contamination has been removed or considered.
Other labs may use a less effective wash and/or do not analyse the wash, putting their clients at risk for making decisions based on a result that may be reflective of external contamination.
Is there a risk that the results of a hair test can be affected by environmental contamination?
Sydney Hair Follicle Testing via Psychemedics utilises several independent approaches which, in various combinations, rule out the possibility of a positive result from external contamination.
The first method involves extensive chemical washing of the hair specimen prior to screening, followed by analysis of the content of the wash. This wash analysis is a critical step to ensure that any contamination is effectively accounted for.
Additionally, Psychemedics measures the presence of metabolites. If drugs were in the air or on a person’s hands and thereby got on a person’s hair from outside, the drug would be present as the drug substance itself, and not as certain metabolites or with metabolite/parent drug ratios which are known to be produced by ingestion.
Psychemedics’ ability to distinguish and measure metabolites with its highly sensitive GC/MS/MS or LC/MS/MS equipment is one criteria used to eliminate the possibility of false positives from external contamination.
In addition, any positive internal contamination (e.g., from passive inhalation or even poppy seed consumption) is distinguished from deliberate drug use by setting GC/MS/MS or LC/MS/MS cut-off levels above those which can be produced by passive internal exposure.
Studies have shown that the combination of extensive washing, metabolite analysis, and proper cut-off levels are necessary to avoid false positives due to external contamination.
How is the sample collected?
A sample of hair is cut above the scalp for the hair follicle to be examined. No hair is pulled out of the scalp and the hair follicle itself is not disturbed. Sample collection is a quick and painless procedure.
What is the testing procedure?
Call 0410 659 670 for an appointment at our Hornsby clinic (no referral is necessary), the clinic is open 6 days a week.
When the appointment is made a deposit of $100 is taken over the phone to secure the booking. Bookings can be rescheduled up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled booking time. Should you not reschedule the appointment before the 24 hour period or fail to turn up for your appointment, then the deposit will be forfeited.
At the appointment the hair sample is collected and sent to Psychemedics in the USA.
The results are emailed to Sydney Hair Follicle Testing and forward onto the donor and other parties as applicable in approximately 10 working days.
What is Chain of Custody?
Chain of Custody is a legal term referring to the order and manner in which evidence is handled. In a court of law it typically must be proven that all evidence is handled according to a properly documented and unbroken chain of custody.
Sydney Hair Follicle Testing has been formally trained in the procedures required for chain of custody.
The chain of custody procedure: At Sydney Hair Follicle Testing the collector and donor signs the necessary certifications to allow for collection, sealing and forwarding to the laboratory for testing.
Collectors take the sample and insert inside a foil and place it into a Sample Acquisition Card (SAC) which is then sealed, and initialled by the donor. A second red security seal is then placed on the SAC and signed by the collector. The signed and sealed SAC is then placed with a signed laboratory copy of the Custody and Control form (CCF), both bearing identical barcodes inside a plastic pouch which is then sealed.
A Medical Review Officer (MRO) receives a copy of the form with the same barcode scanned and sent to them. The MRO copy is then placed inside an Australia Post tracked overnight satchel with the sealed SAC. The satchel is forwarded overnight to the MRO who has received notification that it is in transit. The sealed SAC with CCF is checked and forwarded the same day by FedEx courier to Psychemedics LA, California.
It is checked, logged and receipt advised. Providing that chain-of-custody has been observed, Psychemedics will accept custody of the sample and commence testing.
What time period does a test cover?
A 5-panel drug test with hair sample length of 3.9cm, detects drug ingestion over 3-4 months.
A 7.8cm of hair sample length will detect approximately 6 months drug ingestion.
A 15.6cm of hair sample length can detect approximately 12 months of drug detection.
What are the costs of testing?
See the full price list here.
The price covers all costs including the collection appointment in Hornsby, FedEx air freight, laboratory costs and a report of findings.
When the appointment is made a deposit of $100 is taken over the phone to secure the booking. Bookings can be rescheduled up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled booking time. Should you not reschedule the appointment before the 24 hour period or fail to turn up for your appointment, then the deposit will be forfeited
What do I need to bring to the test?
Photographic identification is required immediately prior to testing so please bring in your drivers licence or a passport. If you do not have either of these, you will be required to pass 100 points of identification. Full I.D. details can be found here.
For Lawyers: What to include in Court Orders.
For Family Court Orders please download our template or contact Vicki on 0410 659 670 or email email@example.com for a template to use in court orders.
Do I need a referral?
No referral is needed, just ring 0410 659 670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
What drugs are tested in the 5-panel drug test (501)?
What does a 5-panel drug test plus Benzodiazepines mean (501+104)?
This test is the 5-panel drug test (501) and a Benzodiazepines test together.
Benzodiazepines are tranquiliser medication used to treat insomnia and anxiety that can produce a euphoric effect. This test covers the drugs in the 5- panel drug test plus Diazepam, Nordiazepam, Oxazepam, Temazepam, Alprazolam and Lorazepam.
What does a 5-panel drug test plus Synthetic Cannabinoids mean (610)?
This test is the 5-panel drug test (501) and a Synthetic Cannabinoids test together.
Synthetics Cannabinoids refer to man-made mind-altering chemicals that are shredded plant material (either sprayed or dried) that can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporised and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices.
These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are related to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Because of this similarity, Synthetic Cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called "synthetic marijuana" (or "fake weed"), and they are often marketed as "safe," legal alternatives to that drug.
What is an EtG alcohol test (920)?
The alcohol hair test is an indicator of a behavioural use. It measures average alcohol consumption over a period of approximately three months, six or twelve months (if the length of hair is available).
The test measures the amount of ethyl glucuronide (EtG) in the hair. EtG is a trace metabolite of ethanol and a direct alcohol biomarker.
The following results scale follows the guidelines determined by the World Health Organization in association with the Society of Hair Testing for measuring consumption.
Negative (below reliable quantifiable measure)
Positive: Low to Moderate Consumption
What is an Anabolic Steroid Test?
Anabolic steroids are synthetic or human-made variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids. "Anabolic" refers to muscle building, and "androgenic" refers to increased male sex characteristics.
Some common names for anabolic steroids are Gear, Juice, Roids, and Stackers.
The steroids included in the steroid test are 19-Norandrostenedione, Mesterolone, Stanozolol, Androstenedione, Methandienone, Testosterone, Boldenone, Methenolone, Testosterone 17-phenylpropionate, Boldenone undecanoate, Methyltestosterone, Testosterone benzoate, Boldenone undecylenate, Mibolerone, Testosterone cypionate, Boldione, Nandrolone, Testosterone decanoate, Calusterone, Nandrolone decanoate, Testosterone enanthate, Clostebol, Nandrolone laurate, Testosterone isocaproate, Danazol, Nandrolone phenylpropionate, Testosterone propionate, DHEA, Norbolethone, Testosterone undecanoate, Drostanolone, Norclostebol, THG, Fluoxymesterone, Norethandrolone, Trenbolone, Formestane, Normethandrolone, Turinabol, Gestrinone and Oxandrolone.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is part of a group of drugs known as opioids. Opioids interact with opioid receptors in the brain and elicit a range of responses within the body; from feelings of pain relief, to relaxation, pleasure and contentment.
It is prescribed in the event of chronic, severe pain as a result of cancer, nerve damage, back injury, major trauma and surgery. It is about 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
What is Dexamfetamine/Dexamphetamine?
Dexamfetamine (also spelled dexamphetamine) is used to treat several medical conditions including Hyperkinetic behaviour disorders in children such as ADHD and narcolepsy – a sleep disorder.
What does Sectional Hair Testing Show?
A sectional hair test takes a 3, 6 or 12-month sample of hair and provides the results in one month increments. Each month is reported separately.
How does a hair test compare to a urine test?
The primary difference is the wider window of detection with hair.
Cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates, and PCP are rapidly excreted and usually undetectable in urine 72 hours after use. Rather than the hours or days covered by a body fluid test, a hair test covers a period of months, ensuring that a drug user cannot evade the test by simply abstaining for a few days.
Additional advantages include: non-intrusive collection procedures, virtual elimination of test evasion through substitution or adulteration, and greater accuracy through test repetition capability.
The combination of an increased window of detection and resistance to evasion makes hair testing far more effective than urinalysis in correctly identifying drug users.
To arrange testing at our Hornsby office or for workplace onsite testing (subject to minimum numbers)
please contact Vicki on 0410 659 670.