3 Differences Between Hair and Urine Drug Tests
Over the years, the hiring process has become increasingly complicated. Many applicants now need to pass not just criminal background checks, but also a rapid drug screen. A rapid drug screen consists of drug screening tests like urine drug tests and the hair follicle drug test. Both of these tests can be encountered during the job application process all over the country. They can also be used to test whether or not someone is still using drugs, perhaps as a condition of release from prison. There are several differences between hair and urine drug tests and this article will look at a few of the differences between these tests.
- Length of Drug Use: One major difference between hair and urine drug tests is the length of drug use that each test can detect. A urine drug test can only detect drug use that has occurred within the past two or three days, which is useful if you suspect recent drug use, but it gives no indication of long-term drug use. By contrast, a hair follicle drug test can detect drug use going back up to three months. This is because the evidence of drug use is stored in the hair follicle as it grows. The longer the hair sample, the the longer the period of time for any drug use can be detected. This is the ideal test to use if you’re trying to establish a pattern of long-term drug use.
- Invasive and Non-Invasive: Another difference between hair and urine drug tests is the nature of how the tests are conducted. A urine drug test is considered non-invasive because it only requires a urine sample to be placed in a cup from the subject being tested. On the other hand, a hair drug test is considered invasive, because a sample of hair must be cut from the head in order to be submitted for testing. This isn’t just one hair either; in order to generate consistent testing results, a decent sized hair sample must be obtained.
- Cost: Another difference between hair and urine drug tests is the cost. Generally speaking, urine drug tests are the more popular form of rapid drug screen because it costs less. This is why drug screens for jobs typically consist of a urine test and not a hair test. Because a hair test requires collecting and examining a hair sample, this test generally costs more to perform.
In conclusion, there are several differences between hair and urine drug tests. These include the length of drug use that each test can detect, with urine tests detecting past drug use over days while hair tests detecting past drug use over months. Also, urine tests are considered non-invasive while hair tests are mildly invasive due to how the samples for each are collected. And finally, there is the difference of cost, with urine drug tests generally being cheaper to run than hair drug tests. These are some of the basic differences between hair drug tests and urine drug tests.