Advantages of Hair Analysis Drug Screening Over Urinalysis

Psychemedics offers significant advantages over urinalysis and creates a powerful deterrent for drug users.

The primary difference is the wider window of detection with Psychemedics hair testing. Cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates and PCP are rapidly excreted from the body and usually undetectable in urine 48 – 72 hours after use. Chronic marijuana use may remain in the body longer. Rather than just hours or days detected by a body fluid test, a hair test detects drug use over 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
  • 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.

Hair drug screening in laboratory

Hair drug screening


Following is a summary of our advantages over urinalysis:

Wider Window of Detection

Graph of advantages of hair drug testing vs. urinalysis

Hair drug test vs. urinalysis

While urine tests generally detect drug use for only the previous 2-3 days for most drugs, Psychemedics’ hair analysis can typically detect drug use over the previous several months.  (See below for a detailed explanation)

Greater Drug Detection and Accuracy

When hair and urine results were compared in “side-by-side” evaluations, 5-10 times as many drug users were accurately identified with Psychemedics’ testing technology.

Graph comparing drug detection rates of hair drug testing over urinalysis

Comparison of drug detection


Resistance to Evasion

Unlike urine, hair samples cannot be easily substituted, adulterated or diluted when properly performed.  Ways to beat urine tests are widely publicized and drug free urine and adulterants can easily be purchased.  Most drugs users know that the simplest way to beat the urine test is to just abstain from drug use for 3 days.

Simplified Collection Process

A cosmetically undetectable snip of hair is easily collected under close supervision without causing the embarrassment of providing a urine sample.  No refrigeration is required and the sample is easily handled and shipped it is not considered hazardous material. Because of the simplicity of the hair collection process, clients many times elect to do the collection themselves. Psychemedics provides online training and customer support for clients wishing to do in-house collection.

Follow-Up Test (Safety Net Testing)

If the results of the first test are challenged, Psychemedics can analyze a second sample, collected close in time to the original sample that can repeat the original results. This is not possible with urine, since the original window will have passed, and the subject can merely abstain from drug use in the few days prior to submitting a new sample.

Availability of Quantitative and Historical Information

Because hair records drug use chronologically, by sectioning the sample the Psychemedics test can also provide an approximation of the pattern and quantity of drug use in most instances.

Greater Return On Investment

Government studies have revealed that each drug user can conservatively cost a company between $7,000-$10,000 annually.  By routinely detecting as many as 5-10 times more drug users than urinalysis, Psychemedics’ superior technology offers the most cost effective and efficient method for drug testing.

If you would like us to do a detailed comparison/return on investment, click here


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