Testing

Hair and saliva are considered as alternative specimens to urine for drugs of abuse testing. Drugs can be trapped in the segment of hair as it develops in a hair follicle and the hair segment emerges from the follicle and becomes keratinized and it carries the drug already trapped in the hair. This trapping of drugs permits analysis a few months later of the actual abuse and has a much longer window of detection than urine or saliva testing. However, several factors may influence amount of drug trapped in the hair such as hair color. Saliva is also an alternative specimen to urine for testing of abused drugs. The main advantage of saliva and hair testing is that the donor has a little chance to adulterate the specimen. Already in use in the transportation and insurance industries, there is an increasing interest in saliva testing in the workplace, roadside test for driving under influence of drugs and criminal justice. It also appears that given the advances of technology and reproducibility of test results, oral fluid test results will be able to survive legal challenges (50). Several products are available for sale through the Internet that claims by washing hair with these shampoos can aid a person to pass a drug test. These issues are discussed in detail in Chapter 18.

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