Pre-Employment Hair Drug Testing

Trucking company, C.R. England, recently published the results of a year long study of the difference between using a urine drug test versus a hair drug test as part of the pre-employment drug screen.  The DOT requires trucking companies to use a urine drug test and the company will continue to do so, however, the results of additionally using a hair drug test are substantially different.

“With hair testing, we are able to detect months of time rather than the handful of days checked with standard urine tests. We found our hair testing positive rate was over three times higher than the required DOT urine test alone.”  Dustin England, vp-safety and compliance for C.R. England

The pilot study was done with 2,000 job applicants that were given the urine drug test and the hair drug test.  Over 150 applicants buy propecia tested positive to the hair drug test while testing negative on the urine drug test.  Overall, 11% of the applicants tested positive to the hair drug test versus only 2.8% testing positive to the DOT required urine drug test.

For employers looking for long term employees, the results of this study show that hair drug testing as part of the job hiring process will help reduce the risk of hiring a person with a drug habit.  Urine drug tests only show drug use in the last few days or weeks compared to a hair drug test which has a ninety day or more history of drug use.

C.R. England is a national trucking company that must comply with DOT regulations regarding drug tests, however, small businesses can also use hair drug tests as part of the pre-employment process and it is no longer cost prohibitive to do so.  Our hair drug test kit for business is less than $80 and there is no minimum purchase so you can test just one potential employee before making that final hiring decision.

Deciding Whether Or Not A Hair Drug Test Is Right For You

Hair drug testing is one of the latest techniques that are being used to test for the presence of drugs in the system. The technology has been used by parents, corporations, and courts to determine if someone is or has been on drugs. While there are other samples that can be used to detect drugs in the system such as blood, urine, saliva and sweat, using a hair follicle for testing drug presence has specific advantages.

But let’s change things up a bit and first look at the criticism!

The Main Criticism For Hair Drug Testing

The one specific criticism for a hair drug test is that it is relatively more expensive as compared to any of the other methods. And this applies to the home drug testing kits as well as laboratory tests that are done.

Pros and cons of a hair drug test

A hair drug test should also not be performed if you are looking to catch drug use in the last few hours or days. The drug takes about a week to grow out to where the hair can be cut and used by the lab and therefore use can only be detected after that gestation period.

In addition to that, acquiring a hair sample as close to the scalp as possible is not something that you can do without the knowledge of the drug using person. 100-120 strands of hair are required. You can collect from different parts of the scalp (so don’t worry that you are going to look like you’re missing a huge chunk of hair) but you do need a sufficient sample. Collecting hair from a hairbrush may seem like a viable option but it has its own disadvantages and is not recommended. The hair could be from an indeterminable time frame, could not be from the person you are trying to test, and it could be impossible to gather all the hair so the root ends are gathered together, which is how the sample must be submitted. Again, it’s not recommended by Home Health Testing, and tests utilizing such samples often cannot be analyzed and refunds and replacements in this situation are not provided. However, with the exception of a substance test, you cannot administer any other type of drug test (urine, saliva) “in secret” either so it’s not really a criticism of the hair drug test per se.

Advantages Of Using Hair Drug Testing

A hair drug test is far more foolproof than any of the other tests. Some advantages of hair drug testing are mentioned below.

– Cheat proof – Hair follicles are less susceptible to tampering as compared to urine samples. Urine samples can be diluted or switched out. However, when the drugs enter the hair follicles, it is near impossible to wash them off with shampoo or chemicals, despite what some fly-by-night operators claim.

– Sample collection – Sample collection of a hair follicle is relatively easy and can be done by anyone. There is no expertise required in acquiring a sample. A hair drug test can usually be performed on any hair sample that is taken from the head or the body. So you can’t get away with drug use by shaving your head (the only test we sell that does not accept body hair is the PDT-90).

– Large range of drugs – Hair drug testing can ensure that a large variety of drug classes can be detected using the same test. Cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, amphetamine, opiates like codeine, and prescription drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin can be tested using a hair follicle sample.

– Detection period – Hair drug testing can detect drugs up to 90 days after abuse. Urine and saliva simply do not come close to that.

So while hair drug testing is relatively more expensive, it is the best option if you need to detect the presence of drugs more accurately, comprehensively and especially if you are not sure of the time of drug abuse.  As you weigh your options, consider the pros and cons of hair drug testing and decide which is right for you.

Article by Anne Hamilton

Information on Ecstasy, the “Party Drug”

Ecstasy, The ‘Party Drug’

Called 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine by scientists, ecstasy is a synthetic oil that is derived from the oils of the sassafras tree. The effect of the drug is similar to that of amphetamines and hallucinogens. Street names of ecstasy include E, Adam, Roll, Bean, X and XTC. It is usually available in the form of yellow or white pills.

The drug was made completely illegal in 1985 and it has been classified as a schedule 1 drug along with others like cocaine, heroin and LSD. Possession of this drug can lead to a fine as high as a hundred thousand dollars or imprisonment for up to 99 years depending on the quantity that is seized on the person.

When is Ecstasy Used Commonly?

While ecstasy is a drug that is consumed as a pill most of the time, it can also be injected. Some crush the tablet into a powder and then snort it and others still have been known to shove the pill up the anus for more instant effects.

Ecstasy pills - this drug can be found in a hair drug test up to 90 days after use.

Since ecstasy behaves like amphetamines and hallucinogens, it increases the speed of the nervous system and makes you feel lighter. Due to the relaxed feeling that the drug induces, it is also called the “love drug.”

Symptoms of Ecstasy Consumption

Once taken the effects of ecstasy start to show within 20 minutes of consumption. These last for about 4 to 6 hours. Evidence of consumption can persist for 90 days in a hair drug test. The most common symptoms include:

– Higher heart rate
– Higher body temperature
– Increased blood pressure
– Nausea
– Sweating
– Lack of appetite
– Increased confidence
– A feeling of “all is well”
– Anxiety

In addition to these there is also confusion, insomnia, paranoia, depression and craving. Muscle tension, bruxism (aka teeth grinding), fever, chills and sweating are also common. Sometimes irrational behavior, convulsions, rhabdomolysis or muscle melt down, hallucinations and excessive thirst is common in some severe cases.

The issue is that ecstasy is almost always considered to be a party drug. When accompanied with excessive physical activity like dancing, it can result in dehydration. On the other hand, drinking too much water can also lead to issues and you may have to monitor water intake properly.

If you see symptoms like excessive intake of water, severe headache and nausea, you should call the ambulance for help.

Hangover effects of ecstasy include depression, insomnia, drowsiness, and loss of concentration.

Long Term Problems of Ecstasy Consumption

Recent studies have shown that constant use of ecstasy can result in memory loss. As the serotonin in the system is eroded, moods, change and disruption of sleeping patterns, sensitivity to pain and sexual desire also go through significant changes.

A further reason that ecstasy is replete with harmful effects is the fact the ecstasy that is available can have some dangerous impurities. Since some of the ingredients may be difficult to get cheap and dangerous substitutes may be used. This can cause harmful overheating, hallucinations, faster heart beat, breathing issues and eventually death.

Article by Anne Hamilton

The History of Cocaine

Cocaine is today a widely used drug in the United States. It comes from the leaf of the coca plant and has a history that spans years and cultures both.

The coca plant was associated with the sacred goddess in the Andean Indian culture. It was believed that coca goddess had to be pleased and satisfied to get a good harvest and this was something that the people did by chewing coca or coca mixtures so that they could connect with the spiritual powers. So exclusive were these coca mixtures that they were permitted to be chewed only by royalty or leaders. This exclusivity declined later as the lower classes were also encouraged to chew it to experience the various advantages.

During this period in South America, it was felt that the coca leaves produced a mild stimulating effect like coffee and could be used to heal asthma, malaria, ulcers and indigestion. It was also given by the ancient physicians to help in blood clotting. Interestingly, the drug was also considered to increase longevity and improve performance in sexual activities.

The Spanish tried to ban coca chewing but when they discovered that the Incas worked better when allowed to chew the leaves, the leaves were then given freely to boost their energy. It was also discovered that coca leaves (as cocaine was known at that time) were good for increase in stamina, mood stabilization, prevention of hunger and less fatigue.

Brought to Europe by the Spanish, it was soon discovered that the coca leaves lost a large part of their potency during the long travel. And this is when people started looking at ways and means of extracting the active ingredient in leaf.

Cocaine's Effects on the Body

The Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine was isolated scientifically for the first time in 1855 by Friedrich Gaedcke. Further purification processes were developed by Albert Niemann, who gave cocaine its name. This form was used as an anesthetic drug and could be found in various hospitals in powder form. At this point in time you could find cocaine in popular beverages, wine and in cigarettes. It was also used to treat depression and even alcohol and morphine addiction.

Cocaine consumption was promoted by cocaine users like Sigmund Freud and authors like Arthur Conan Doyle. He had inspirational and excessively intelligent characters like Sherlock Holmes consume cocaine in a large number of stories. At the height of its legal/social acceptance, cocaine was added in cough tinctures, pain killers and mood elevators, in addition to the products that already contained it. It was added in wines that were praised by the Pope himself. Cocaine was even used in the secret recipe that Coca Cola used and was only removed in 1903 when it was confirmed that cocaine had serious side effects on the brain as well. But before the adverse effects were known, it was touted as having all the virtues of alcohol without the negatives.

It was soon seen how consumers of cocaine would be obsessed with themselves, neither eat nor sleep and even if they did, they would get up craving more cocaine. Stigma about cocaine use began at the beginning of the 20th Century, although it was not listed as a “controlled substance” until 1970.

Cocaine is now part of the well known “War on Drugs” that was started by President Nixon due to the continued popularity of this and other drugs despite the negatives being known. And the war continues to this date, against the recreational use of cocaine and crack cocaine.

You can detect the use of cocaine with any one of our drug tests, including the hair drug test, which can go back up to 90 days after use. Saliva and urine drug tests will also detect cocaine, with varying detection times (in saliva – 5 to 10 minutes after use up to 24 hours after use; in urine, 2-5 hours after use up to 2 to 4 days after use).

Article by Anne Hamilton

3 Reasons Why You Should Never Try Meth

Methamphetamine, or meth, is also known as speed, crank or ice in the streets. It is highly addictive and affects the central nervous system within minutes of consuming or inhaling it. It is commonly available in pill, capsule or powder form and can be snorted, injected, swallowed or smoked. It can fortunately be picked up by a variety of drug tests, particularly the hair drug test, which can go back 90 days to find evidence of use.

Why Do People Take Meth?

The psychoactive meth increases alertness and gives a feeling of high energy. It causes euphoria and enhances self esteem. If you have low self-confidence or don’t fit in with your peer group, meth may present a temptation for these reasons.

The widespread availability of meth also makes it easy for meth to become one of the most abused drugs. The availability can be attributed to the fact that it can be conjured up with some understanding of how it is made from over the counter drugs, acetone, gas additives, rock salt, lithium batteries, aluminum foil, coffee filters, glassware and other such commonly available substances.

Top 3 Reasons to Avoid Meth like the Plague

1. Short term and long term effects – While among the short term effects of meth are the desirable rush that one feels, decreased appetite, and increased physical activity, other short term effects can include irritability, insomnia, confusion and anxiety. The long term effects on behavior include violent attacks, psychotic mannerisms, mood disturbances, delusional periods and suicidal or homicidal thoughts. The long term damage to the brain is sometimes irreversible.

2. Addiction – Meth is a highly addictive substance. The rush and the pleasure of the drug is something that the addicts cannot forget and therefore there is a psychological dependence along with the physical dependence that overrides any reasoning. In addition to that, as soon as the short term effects of meth are gone, irritability and depression take their place. These feelings seem to go away only when another dose of meth is taken, thereby increasing the dependency further. As if the addiction was not enough, the withdrawal from the addiction is not easy either. Even as you try and shrug off the habit, it causes irritability, depression, fear and extreme craving along with tremors, palpitations, hyperventilation and nausea. A meth overdose can be lethal and it is not until late that the addict realizes that an overdose situation has occurred. An overdose of meth produces a physical condition that leads to a heart attack in no time. Sudden profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat and short breaths lead to death within minutes. This is why we take drug testing for meth so seriously.

3. Skin issues – If the above reasons are not enough, you might want to consider what meth consumption does to your physical appearance. Meth starts to create blisters in your mouth leading to a situation where your mouth and face are covered in sores. Eyes begin to bulge due to lack of sleep and the stomach also starts to get inflamed due to excessive starvation.

Use a Home Drug Test to Catch this Addiction

With the easy availability of such drugs in the black market there is no way in which you can keep your children from at least knowing what is out there. It is a good idea to educate them adequately about the harmful effects of meth and other drugs and when appropriate use a home drug test to ensure that your children are clean. A home drug test can also be used in educational institutions and other such places to ensure that the environment is drug free. A hair drug test goes back 90 days and tests for meth with great accuracy, which is why we think it is such a great tool for detecting a drug as addictive as methamphetamine.

Article by Anne Hamilton

7 Things You May Not Know About Your Hair

Changing your haircut can change the way you look or add something new to your personality. Although there are about a million things you can do to your hair, the hair itself, in its color and texture, remains constant and is determined by your genes. Cells known as melanocytes that exist under the epidermis produce the melanin that finally decides the color of your hair. Here are 7 other facts about hair that you might find interesting.

How much do you know about hair?

Hair - how much do you really know about it?

1. The whole human body with the exception of the soles of the feet, palms, lips and mucous membranes are covered with hair. The growth, density, thickness, texture and rate of growth depends largely on the genetic makeup of the individual. There are however various changes that can be brought about by chemicals and the environment. Hair can be nourished from within and without. So as you consume eggs, liver, kidney, carrots and green vegetables as part of your hair nourishing diet, make sure that you apply some henna, egg yolks and yogurt to it too.

2. Hair growth and the thickness of hair is something that many people fret about, although it is commonly associated with women. It may interest you to know that the rate at which a woman’s hair grows and the extent to which it is thick is on average higher among men than women.

3. The average growth of normal healthy hair is about half an inch per month. It is estimated that losing about 100 hairs in a day is normal and should not cause panic about balding.

4. While hair on the head is a desirable, elsewhere in American culture it is viewed as a nuisance. Hair removal techniques include short term tactics like shaving, waxing and tweezing, while long term tactics like lasers, creams and flash lamps are popular and permanent methods exist like electrolysis.

5. A large proportion of hair is made up of material that is incombustible and therefore is probably the most indestructible part of our bodies, after the teeth. In fact, the hair on some ancient Egyptian mummies is really well preserved. Hair consists of 23 percent alkaline sulfates, 5 to 10 percent iron oxide (higher in red heads and lower among brunettes) and about 40 percent silica.

6. There are many popular and still believed myths about hair. It is often believed that cutting hair makes it grow faster, tight hats can cause people to lose hair, and plucking a white hair will cause another one to appear. None of these are true!

7. Last but not least, it is said that exposure to swimming pools can cause a green tint in the hair. This is, in fact, true and those who have blonde or naturally light hair that is porous may actually experience a green tint over time. This can be avoided with moisturizing shampoos and leave on conditioners that prevent the chlorine from entering.

And of course, as a bonus 8th fact, you can test your hair for drugs conveniently and easily with a hair drug test from Home Health Testing. Check out our product line today!

Article by Anne Hamilton.

Photo credit: Woman with hair straightener by Petr Kratochvil