Hair Testing

esr.cri.nz

Hair Testing

Hair Testing

for drug use

www.esr.cri.nz


ESR provides hair testing for individuals, legal

agencies and employers. Hair testing is unique in

that it provides information about long-term and

chronic drug and alcohol use.

Advantages of hair testing

• Provides information on a person’s pattern of drug use

• Impossible to ‘cheat’ a hair test (except by using someone

else’s hair). Bleaching and dyeing of the hair do not

compromise the testing

• Useful in managing an employee who has previously

submitted a positive test and is in a rehabilitation

programme.

What drugs can be tested for

ESR can test for more than 40 drugs and their metabolites.

• Amphetamine-type substances (methamphetamine ‘P’ and

MDMA ‘ecstasy’), BZP, the active component in ‘party pills’

• Cannabis (marijuana, hashish, hash oil)

• Opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine)

• Sedative-type drugs – including diazepam (Valium) and

zopiclone

• Alcohol – ESR can detect markers in hair that are

indicative of chronic excessive alcohol use.

• Cocaine


Hair sample collection

Usually the hair sample is collected by a doctor or nurse. ESR

has a list of GPs who are available to take hair samples for testing.

When a hair test is requested, ESR will send the collector a sample

collection kit and instructions. The collector will then send the

sample to the laboratory for analysis.

ESR has a list of nationwide collectors experienced in the

collection of hair samples. Please contact the Helpdesk on

(04) 914 0731 or email wdt@esr.cri.nz for a collector in your area.

Laboratory testing

ESR uses specialist instruments that look at the chemical

structures of specific drugs. Because each drug has a unique

structure, ESR scientists can be certain that they are correctly

reporting the presence of a specific drug.

Laboratory testing of hair for drugs involves several stages of

sample preparation before final analysis. When a hair sample

arrives at the laboratory, it is cut into sections. Each one

centimetre of hair equates to about one month of growth.

The hair is washed thoroughly to ensure there is no contamination

on the outside. Each section is tested for the presence of drugs.

The drug is then extracted and analysed.


Reporting of results

ESR laboratory results are reported electronically. A hair test

result is available in two to three weeks from receipt in the

laboratory. Results are reported only to the person nominated

to receive the results.

Costs (as at March 2011)

Drug screen test and report for single segment of hair:

Segment of hair can be 2 or 6 months of growth

Report showing drugs detected/not detected:

New Zealand: NZD $550.00

Australia: AUD $550.00

Additional courtreportable

statement:

NZD $250.00 per hour

The test for chronic alcohol use is a separate test.

(Please contact us for specific information.)

All prices exclude GST. Prices are subject to change.

FAQs

How do drugs end up in hair

When a drug is ingested or injected, it rapidly enters body

fluids and tissues. The drug is also incorporated into growing

hair through the blood circulating in the follicles. As the

hair grows, the drug moves with it, making it possible to

be detected many months later. Hair length determines the

period of time in which drugs can be detected.

What are drug detection times in hair

A person’s hair length determines the duration of drug use

history that can be measured. Any drugs taken remain fixed in

the hair as it grows out from the scalp, so the drugs stay within

that piece of hair until it is cut off. An average person’s head

hair will grow at around one centimetre per month, so we

can test for six months of drug use history from a sample six

centimetres or longer.


Could it be from passive smoking or

ingestion

There is little scientific information about the effect of

passive ingestion of a drug and the detection of that drug in

hair. It is likely that the exposure would have to be at a high

level and for a prolonged period for the drug to be detected

in the hair. We also minimise the chance of reporting passive

exposure in the hair by washing the samples before analysing.

How much hair is needed

The amount of hair needed to test for all the drug classes is

approximately the width of a pencil. This is taken from the

back of the head and does not leave a visible bald patch.

We can use hair from other parts of the body if head hair is

not available. Growth rates are much more variable in other

areas, so time periods cannot be estimated.

Oral fluid and urine testing options are also available from

ESR. A comparison of the three testing options is shown

in the graph below.

Oral

fluid

Drug testing methods

and their approximate detection periods

Positive results

Negative

results

Concentration (not to scale)

12−24

hours

Urine

4 hours

to 20 days

Hair

Up to 365 days

Cut-off levels

1 2 5

10 20 30+

Timeline (Days)


Oral

fluid

12−24

hours

Oral

fluid

12−24

hours

Urine

4 hours

−20 days

Hair

Up to 365 days

1 2 5 10 20 30+ Days

Timeline (Days)

Urine

4 hours

−20 days

1 2 5

Timeline (Days)

Could it be from passive smoking or

ingestion

There is little scientific information about the effect of

passive ingestion of a drug and the detection of that drug

in hair. It is likely that the exposure would have to be at a

high level and for a prolonged period for it to be detected in

the hair. We also minimise the chance of reporting passive

exposure in the hair by washing the samples before analysing.

How much hair is needed

The amount of hair needed to test for all the drug classes is

approximately the width of a pencil. This is taken from the

back of the head and does not leave a visible bald patch.

We can use hair from other parts of the body if head hair is

not available. Growth rates are much more variable in other

areas so time periods cannot be estimated.

Oral Fluid and urine testing options are also available from

ESR. A comparison of the three testing options is shown in

the graph below.

Negative

results Positive results

Concentration (not to scale)

Negative

results Positive results

Concentration (not to scale)

Oral

fluid

12−24

hours

Oral

fluid

12−24

hours

Drug testing methods

and their approximate detection periods

Urine

4 hours

−20 days

Hair

Up to 365 days

1 2 5 10 20 30+ Days

Timeline (Days)

Cut off levels

Could it be from passive smoking or

ingestion

There is little scientific information about the effect of

passive ingestion of a drug and the detection of that drug

in hair. It is likely that the exposure would have to be at a

high level and for a prolonged period for it to be detected in

the hair. We also minimise the chance of reporting passive

exposure in the hair by washing the samples before analysing.

How much hair is needed

The amount of hair needed to test for all the drug classes is

approximately the width of a pencil. This is taken from the

back of the head and does not leave a visible bald patch.

We can use hair from other parts of the body if head hair is

not available. Growth rates are much more variable in other

areas so time periods cannot be estimated.

Oral Fluid and urine testing options are also available from

ESR. A comparison of the three testing options is shown in

the graph below.

Hair

Up to 365 days

Drug testing methods

and their approximate detection periods

Urine

4 hours

−20 days

10 20 30+ Days

Hair

Up to 365 days

1 2 5 10 20 30+ Days

Timeline (Days)

Cut off levels

Cut off levels

Cut off levels

Is oral fluid testing the best drug testing

option for my business

The ability to detect the recent use of drugs makes oral fluid

testing an ideal choice for post-incident type testing. Urine and

hair testing options are also available from ESR.

Will recent oral surgery affect the result

No. Oral surgery will not affect the resulting test in any way.

Is oral fluid a ‘hazardous substance’

Oral fluid should be treated as a hazardous substance. As a

human body fluid it could contain infectious organisms. Oral

fluid specimens should be handled and treated as if infectious

and capable of transmitting infection. All collection materials

must be disposed of in an appropriate manner.

How do you know it is that drug

Each sample is first screened to check for the evidence of the

use of the drug classes stated above.

Any presumptive positives are confirmed using a mass

spectrometer, which looks specifically at the chemical structure

of the drugs. This is unique for each drug and allows us to be

These publications and further

certain that we are correctly reporting the presence of a drug.

information can be obtained from

This means that we know whether the drug is from an over the

the counter Workplace medicine or Drug illicit drug Testing use.

helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

Does email a positive wdt@esr.cri.nz result mean the

individual is impaired

No. A positive result means the drug has been recently used

but does not provide information on the effects it has had.

www.esr.cri.nz

Is oral fluid testing the best drug testing

option for my business

The ability to detect the recent use of drugs makes oral fluid

testing an ideal choice for post-incident type testing. Urine and

hair testing options are also available from ESR.

Will recent oral surgery affect the result

No. Oral surgery will not affect the resulting test in any way.

Is oral fluid a ‘hazardous substance’

Oral fluid should be treated as a hazardous substance. As a

human body fluid it could contain infectious organisms. Oral

fluid specimens should be handled and treated as if infectious

and capable of transmitting infection. All collection materials

must be disposed of in an appropriate manner.

How do you know it is that drug

Each sample is first screened to check for the evidence of the

use of the drug classes stated above.

Any presumptive positives are confirmed using a mass

spectrometer, which looks specifically at the chemical structure

of the drugs. This is unique for each drug and allows us to be

These publications and further

certain that we are correctly reporting the presence of a drug.

information can be obtained from

This means that we know whether the drug is from an over the

the counter Workplace medicine or Drug illicit drug Testing use.

helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

Does email a positive wdt@esr.cri.nz result mean the

individual is impaired

No. A positive result means the drug has been recently used

but does not provide information on the effects it has had.

www.esr.cri.nz

for drug use

Drug testing methods

and their approximate detection periods

These publications Oral and further

fluid

information can be obtained from

Urine

Hair

12−24 4 hours

Up to 365 days

the Workplace Drug Testing

hours −20 days

helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

email wdt@esr.cri.nz

Cut off levels

Negative

results Positive results

Concentration (not to scale)

1 2 5 10 20 30+ Days

Timeline (Days)

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

When can I use alcohol testing in my

workplace

Alcohol testing is governed by the provisions of your drug

and alcohol testing policy. Alcohol testing can be undertaken

at any time in accordance with the Policy. However, testing

is usually performed randomly, post-incident or for

reasonable cause when alcohol use is suspected.

Do not use if a person has used a breath freshener or other

medicinal formulations containing alcohol in the last

15 minutes.

When can I use alcohol testing in my

workplace

Alcohol testing is governed by the provisions of your drug

and alcohol testing policy. Alcohol testing can be undertaken

at any time in accordance with the Policy. However, testing

is usually performed randomly, post-incident or for

reasonable cause when alcohol use is suspected.

Do not use if a person has used a breath freshener or other

medicinal formulations containing alcohol in the last

15 minutes.

drug testing in the

workplace

For further information,

please contact the

Workplace Drug Testing

Helpdesk

on (04) 914 0731

www.esr.cri.nz

URINE testing ORAL FLUID testing HAIR testing

Testing Standards AS/NZS 4308:2 08 “Procedures for the co lection,

No specific standard for hair testing

detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine”

Testing Procedure Laboratory based with scr ening by i munoa say and Laboratory based with scr ening by i munoa say and Laboratory based with analysis by ma spectrometry

confirmation of any positive scr results by ma s confirmation of any positive scr results by ma s

spectrometry before reporting

spectrometry before reporting

Confirmation only testing available for urine specimens Detects parent drugs and some metabolites Detects parent drugs and some metabolites

scr ened on-site as “not negative”

Detects both the parent drug and/or their metabolites Onsite scr ening is not reliable for ca nabinoids

Cut-o f

Levels/ Target

Concentrations Cut-o f levels reflect recent, relatively recent or regular Target concentrations reflect very recent use of a drug

use

Drug Detection “Days” for ca nabis “Hours” for ca nabis (very dependent on target/ From 7 days up t one year

Time

nominated concentrations)

Can be up to thr e w eks after chronic use (i.e: more Target indicate a detection time for

than 5 ca nabis cigare tes/day over a long period) ca nabis use of up to 6 hours and for other drugs up to

24 hours

Adulteration/ Adulteration substitution is po sible but laboratories Substitution is difficult as the mouth is checked prior to a Adulteration is not po sible

Substitution and co lectors are aware of this and can check for witne sed co lection

adulteration

Robust co lection procedures by NZQA certified collectors

Substitution is most unlikely due to co lection by a trained

greatly reduce the risk of this occu ring

collector and chain of custody requirements

Ca nabis Testing Tests for the presence of THC-Acid, the main product Tests for THC, the main active ingredient of ca nabis. Tests for THC and metabolites

found in the urine after use of THC

Results reflect what is left in the mouth after smoking

and may bl od levels

Pa sive Inhalation Testing will not give a positive result a the cut-o f levels Should not give a positive result on the target levels Testing for THC metabolites ensures there is no po sibility

of Cannabis used the Standard

of measuring pa sive inhalation

Advantages Used extensively A positive result indicates use within a shor time prior to Can detect a history of drug use

co lection. This gives a stronger indication tha the person

was “at risk” a the time of co lection.

ESR laboratory testing has held up to legal challenge Some drug levels (not ca nabis) can be related to Non invasive co lection

bl od levels

Indicates “risk factor” but not how much “at risk” a Witne sed co lection

person was the time of co lection

Application Used for pre-employment, random, reasonable cause, G od for post-incident and post rehabilitation Suitable for use in medico-legal, family and criminal law

post-incident and post rehabilitation

cases, rehabilitation management, insurance and some

workplace situations

For further information,

please contact the

Workplace Drug Testing

Helpdesk on (04) 914 0731

For further information, please contac the Workplace Drug Testing Helpdesk on (04) 914 0731

What does a positive result mean

A positive result means that the person tested has consumed

drugs recently and has drugs or their metabolites in their

system to a measured level. The measured level is above the

cut-off levels determined by the AS/NZS 4308: 2008 urine

testing standard.

for drug use

Drug detection times in urine.

The detection times differ for individual drugs but essentially

drugs can be detected in urine from 4 hours and up to 20 days

following use.

Is urine testing the best testing option

for my business

Urine testing for drugs has been widely used in New Zealand

workplaces for many years. ESR laboratory urine testing is

proven to be a robust and effective testing method when used

in conjunction with a company’s drug testing policy.

Oral Fluid and Hair testing options are also available from

ESR. A comparison of the three testing options is shown in

the graph below.

Drug testing methods

and their approximate detection periods

Oral

fluid

These publications and further

Urine

Hair

12−24 4 hours

Up to 365 days

information can be obtained from

hours −20 days

the Workplace Drug Testing

helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

Cut off levels

email wdt@esr.cri.nz

1 2 5 10 20 30+ Days

Timeline (Days)

Negative

results Positive results

Concentration (not to scale)

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

When can I use alcohol testing in my

workplace

Alcohol testing is governed by the provisions of your drug

and alcohol testing policy. Alcohol testing can be undertaken

at any time in accordance with the Policy. However, testing

is usually performed randomly, post-incident or for

reasonable cause when alcohol use is suspected.

Do not use if a person has used a breath freshener or other

medicinal formulations containing alcohol in the last

15 minutes.

When can I use alcohol testing in my

workplace

Alcohol testing is governed by the provisions of your drug

and alcohol testing policy. Alcohol testing can be undertaken

at any time in accordance with the Policy. However, testing

is usually performed randomly, post-incident or for

reasonable cause when alcohol use is suspected.

Do not use if a person has used a breath freshener or other

medicinal formulations containing alcohol in the last

15 minutes.

www.esr.cri.nz

drug testing in the

workplace

www.esr.cri.nz

URINE testing ORAL FLUID testing HAIR testing

www.esr.cri.nz

These publications and further

information can be obtained from

the Workplace Drug Testing

helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

email wdt@esr.cri.nz

Testing Standards AS/NZS 4308:2 08 “Procedures for the co lection,

No specific standard for hair testing

detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine”

Testing Procedure Laboratory based with screening by i munoa say and Laboratory based with scr ening by i munoassay and Laboratory based with analysis by ma spectrometry

confirmation of any positive results by ma s confirmation of any positive screen results by ma s

spectrometry before reporting

spectrometry before reporting

Confirmation only testing available for urine specimens Detects parent drugs and some metabolites Detects parent drugs and some metabolites

screened on-site as “not negative”

Detects both the parent drug and/or their metabolites Onsite screening is not reliable for ca nabinoids

Cut-off

Levels/ Target

Concentrations Cut-off levels reflect recent, relatively recent o regular Target concentrations reflect very recent use of a drug

use

Drug Detection “Days” for ca nabis “Hours” for ca nabis (very dependent on target/ From 7 days up t one year

Time

nominated concentrations)

Can be up to three weeks after chronic use (i.e: more Target indicate a detection time for

than 5 ca nabis cigare tes/day over a long period) ca nabis use of up to 6 hours and for other drugs up to

24 hours

Adulteration/ Adulteration or substitution is possible but laboratories Substitution is difficult as the mouth is checked prior to a Adulteration is not po sible

Substitution and collectors are aware of this and can check for witne sed collection

adulteration

Robust co lection procedures by NZQA certified collectors

Substitution is most unlikely due to co lection by a trained

greatly reduce the risk of this o cu ring

co lector and chain of custody requirements

Ca nabis Testing Tests for the presence of THC-Acid, the main product Tests for THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis. Tests for THC and metabolites

found in the urine after use of THC

Results reflect what is left in the mouth after smoking

and may bl od levels

Pa sive Inhalation Testing wi l not give a positive result a the cut-o f levels Should not give a positive result on the target levels Testing for THC metabolites ensures there is no po sibility

of Ca nabis used the Standard

of measuring pa sive inhalation

Advantages Used extensively A positive result indicates use within a shor time prior to Can detect a history of drug use

co lection. This gives a stronger indication tha the person

was “at risk” a the time of co lection.

ESR laboratory testing has held up to legal cha lenge Some drug levels (not ca nabis) can be related to Non invasive co lection

bl od levels

Indicates “risk factor” but not how much “at risk” a Witne sed co lection

person was a the time of collection

A plication Used for pre-employment, random, reasonable cause, G od for post-incident and post rehabilitation Suitable for use in medico-legal, family and criminal law

post-incident and post rehabilitation

cases, rehabilitation management, insurance and some

workplace situations

For further information,

please contact the

Workplace Drug Testing

Helpdesk on (04) 914 0731

For further information, please contac the Workplace Drug Testing Helpdesk on (04) 914 0731

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

Comparison of ESR’s

Urine, Oral fluid and Hair

drug testing services

in the workplace

drug testing in the

workplace

in the workplace

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

s

ng the best drug testing

siness

ecent use of drugs makes oral fluid

r post-incident type testing. Urine and

lso available from ESR.

urgery affect the result

t affect the resulting test in any way.

zardous substance’

ted as a hazardous substance. As a

d contain infectious organisms. Oral

e handled and treated as if infectious

ng infection. All collection materials

appropriate manner.

w it is that drug

ned to check for the evidence of the

ted above.

What does a positive result mean FAQs

A positive result means that the person tested has consumed

drugs recently and has drugs or their metabolites in their

Alcohol

system to a measured level. The measured level is above the

cut-off levels determined by the AS/NZS 4308: 2008 urine

testing standard.

in the workplace

Drug detection times in urine.

The detection times differ for individual drugs but essentially

drugs can be detected in urine from 4 hours and up to 20 days

following use.

Is urine testing the best testing option

for my business

Urine testing for drugs has been widely used in New Zealand

workplaces for many years. ESR laboratory urine testing is

proven to be a robust and effective testing method when used

in conjunction with a company’s drug testing policy.

Oral Fluid and Hair testing options are also available from

ESR. A comparison of the three testing options is shown in

the graph below.

Hair Testing

FAQs

Oral Fluid

Oral Fluid

Comparison of ESR’s Urine, Oral Fluid and Hair drug testing services

Cut-o f levels exist and are documented in the Standard Target/nominated concentrations are documented No cut-o f levels or target concentrations documented

Replace

image

drug testing in the

workplace

Alcohol

Urine

drug testing in the

workplace

s are confirmed using a mass

s specifically at the chemical structure

ue for each drug and allows us to be

tly reporting the presence of a drug.

whether the drug is from an over the

mation,

t drug use.

t the

Testing

esult mean the

aired 914 0731

ns the drug has been recently used

rmation on the effects it has had.

Positive results

Negative

results

Concentration (not to scale)

Drug testing methods

and their approximate detection periods

These publications and further

information can be obtained from

the Workplace Drug Testing

helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

email wdt@esr.cri.nz

These publications and further

information can be obtained from

the Workplace Drug Testing

helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

email wdt@esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

www.esr.cri.nz

Hair Testing

Comparison of ESR’s Urine, Oral Fluid and Hair drug testing services

URINE testing ORAL FLUID testing HAIR testing

Testing Standards AS/NZS 4308:2008 “Procedures for the co lection,

No specific standard for hair testing

detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine”

Testing Procedure Laboratory based with screening by immunoassay and Laboratory based with screening by immunoassay and Laboratory based with analysis by mas spectrometry

confirmation of any positive screen results by mass confirmation of any positive screen results by mass

spectrometry before reporting

spectrometry before reporting

Confirmation only testing available for urine specimens Detects parent drugs and some metabolites Detects parent drugs and some metabolites

screened on-site as “not negative”

Detects both the parent drug and/or their metabolites Onsite screening is not reliable for cannabinoids

Cut-off

Cut-off levels exist and are documented in the Standard Target/nominated concentrations are documented No cut-off levels or target concentrations documented

Levels/ Target

Concentrations Cut-off levels reflect recent, relatively recent or regular Target concentrations reflect very recent use of a drug

use

Drug Detection “Days” for cannabis “Hours” for cannabis (very dependent on target/ From 7 days up to one year

Time

nominated concentrations)

Can be up to three weeks after chronic use (i.e: more Target concentrations indicate a detection time for

than 5 cannabis cigarettes/day over a long period) cannabis use of up to 6 hours and for other drugs up to

24 hours

Adulteration/ Adulteration or substitution is possible but laboratories Substitution is difficult as the mouth is checked prior to a Adulteration is not possible

Substitution and co lectors are aware of this and can check for witnessed collection

adulteration

Robust co lection procedures by NZQA certified co lectors

Substitution is most unlikely due to co lection by a trained

greatly reduce the risk of this occurring

co lector and chain of custody requirements

Cannabis Testing Tests for the presence of THC-Acid, the main product Tests for THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis. Tests for THC and metabolites

found in the urine after use of THC

Results reflect what is left in the mouth after smoking

and may not blood levels

Passive Inhalation Testing wi l not give a positive result a the cut-off levels Should not give a positive result on the target levels Testing for THC metabolites ensures there is no possibility

of Cannabis used in the Standard

of measuring passive inhalation

Advantages Used extensively A positive result indicates use within a shor time prior to Can detect a history of drug use

co lection. This gives a stronger indication tha the person

was “at risk” a the time of co lection.

ESR laboratory testing has held up to legal cha lenge Some drug levels (not cannabis) can be related to Non invasive co lection

blood levels

Indicates “risk factor” but not how much “at risk” a Witnessed co lection

person was a the time of co lection

Application Used for pre-employment, random, reasonable cause, Good for post-incident and post rehabilitation Suitable for use in medico-legal, family and criminal law

post-incident and post rehabilitation

cases, rehabilitation management, insurance and some

workplace situations

Positive results

Negative

results

Concentration (not to scale)

Drug testing methods

and their approximate detection periods

FAQs

FAQs

Oral Fluid

Comparison of ESR’s Urine, Oral Fluid and Hair drug testing services

Cut-o f levels exist and are documented in the Standard Target/nominated concentrations are documented No cut-o f levels or target concentrations documented

For further information, please contact the Workplace Drug Testing Helpdesk on (04) 914 0731

www.esr.cri.nz

Urine

Alcohol

These publications and further

information can be obtained from

the Workplace Drug Testing

helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

email wdt@esr.cri.nz

Replace

image

Comparison of ESR’s

Urine, Oral fluid and Hair

drug testing services

www.esr.cri.nz

These publications and further

information can be obtained from

the Workplace Drug Testing

Helpdesk on (04) 914 0731 or

email wdt@esr.cri.nz

© ESR 2011

www.esr.cri.nz

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