Hair Analysis Growing in Popularity 

  Hair Analysis Growing in Popularity 

Posted by CN Staff on August 17, 2006 at 09:57:57 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Stamford Advocate 

Bridgeport, Conn. -- The type of hair-follicle analysis that Bridgeport Mayor John M. Fabrizi underwent this month is cutting into urine testing turf as employers' favored way to screen workers for drug use.Hair testing is more costly than urine testing, but advocates say it's more reliable, less invasive and reveals abuse over a much longer time.
"We are actually having some preliminary discussions about making the switch from urine testing to hair-strand testing," said Noreen McNicholas, spokeswoman for St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport. "There's definitely interest in it."Fabrizi underwent testing earlier this month after the Connecticut Post took him up on an offer following his admission of cocaine use while in office. He initially passed a urine test in July. The Post then asked Fabrizi to submit to a hair-follicle test, which he also passed.Urine testing remains standard for employee drug screening. It's cheap, quick and has more than 20 years of military research behind it, making it the test of choice for the federal government. At a typical cost of $50, urinalysis can show if someone is on drugs or has used them within the past four or five days.Experts say urine tests are useful for random drug screening, a common practice in professions where safety is a concern. But for an ever-expanding list of employers, from Fortune 500 companies to casinos to school systems and metropolitan police departments, hair-follicle testing is the standard for weeding drug users out of their work force.A few strands can tell an employer whether a person has used cocaine, PCP, heroin or marijuana for months in the past. Chemical traces of drugs remain in the hair long after they pass from the rest of the body. A half-inch strand can reveal drug use within a month; a 1-inch strand can provide a three-month picture. And if employees are bald or wear their hair shaved to the skin, body hair can be used.Hair follicle analysis costs significantly more than urine testing, typically $100 to $150 per test. But toxicology experts, laboratories and federal government contractors say the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has proposed new rules, in the final state of revision, that are likely to make hair the prime specimen for drug testing."Hair testing is a highly, highly reliable way of testing for the presence of drugs when properly performed by a lab," said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine at Gainesville. "It's quite precise. And it offers a wider window for detecting drug use than urine testing."Goldberger, who is president-elect of the Academy of Forensic Sciences, said the new rules will increase employers' confidence in hair-follicle analysis, and will likely prod the federal government to rely on hair for its drug-screening requirements."The rules set the stage for ensuring that all laboratories handle hair specimens the same way," Goldberger said.It takes only 40 strands of hair, about an inch long, snipped from the back of the head to supply enough hair for testing, said Raymond Kubacki, president of Psychemedics Corp. in Boston.Psychemedics is the only lab in the country to win U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for all its hair testing."It's not invasive at all," Kubacki said. "Anyone who goes on the Internet or who's been using drugs knows how to do that."That's what the General Accounting Office learned in 2005 when it conducted an undercover investigation of products and strategies for defeating urine drug tests. Trawling the Internet and visiting businesses in and around Washington, D.C., GAO investigators found more than 400 widely available products for masking the presence of cocaine and marijuana. Some came with double-your-money-back guarantees if they didn't defeat the urine tests.The products call into question the effectiveness of current drug-testing procedures, Robert Cramer, managing director of the GAO's Special Investigations unit, told a congressional subcommittee."The sheer number of these products and the ease with which they are marketed and distributed through the Internet present formidable obstacles to the integrity of the drug-testing process," he said.Against the backdrop of such products, Psychemedics focuses exclusively on conducting workplace testing for drugs using hair samples. Its client list includes the Federal Reserve Bank, 250 school systems in 28 states, a number of Fortune 500 companies and dozens of major metropolitan police departments."Our testing in schools has proven to be a real deterrent to kids who may have thought about doing drugs," Kubacki said. "It's dissuaded a lot of them."But hair testing is controversial. Employees have challenged findings, claiming specimens were improperly handled, the tests were contaminated or the lab staff improperly interpreted the results. Some have claimed the tests picked up "second-hand" drugs that got in their hair when they were near others smoking an illegal drug.But Kubacki said the testing procedure eliminates drug residue from the environment."We put the hair through a rinse for four hours before it's tested," he said.Complete Title: Hair Analysis Growing in Popularity as Way To Test Drug UseSource: Stamford Advocate, The (CT)Published: August 17, 2006Copyright: 2006 Southern Connecticut Newspaper, Inc.Contact: letters.advocate scni.comWebsite: Drug Testing Archives

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Comment #19 posted by FoM on August 17, 2006 at 22:47:04 PT
It isn't the same time. It was unique to the 60s. It was a total coming together of a similar belief system which was peace, love and understand. Like Jesus really. When I see a long haired person I usually think I would get along with them. 
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Comment #18 posted by whig on August 17, 2006 at 22:42:36 PT
I like the music from Hair. I never saw the show but I've listened to the album.
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Comment #17 posted by whig on August 17, 2006 at 22:42:08 PT
I guess where I grew up the only benefit to growing long hair would have been to fight with my family over something that was not that important to me. Even now I cut my hair when my wife thinks it's getting a little bit too long. I don't have a point to prove, I guess. Different times and social environment, definitely.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on August 17, 2006 at 22:38:46 PT
A little more about Hair. Good night to you. I'm really tired. It's been a long day.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on August 17, 2006 at 22:29:15 PT
Hair meant a lot in the 60s. Hair was a musical. I found this link. Hair long and uncut as long as it could be grown was what separated hippies in many respects from regular society at the time. Most hippies believed in Jesus and Jesus was represented to most religions wearing long hair.***Talented Cast Generates Electricity at UCI in 'Hair'June 5, 2003By Michael Rydzynski
For Irvine World NewsPhilip Channing photo courtesy of UC Irvine
An all-undergraduate ensemble performs a number from "Hair." 
The Flower Children of the '60s have invaded the Claire Trevor Theatre on the UC Irvine campus.That's what audiences will see and feel once inside the hall, thanks to director Keith Fowler's decision to have his cast of 34 undergraduate students lie, lope and loiter all over the stage and in both aisles before the lights dim, signaling the official start of "Hair," that revolutionary musical that introduced genuine rock music to Broadway. Complete Article:
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Comment #14 posted by whig on August 17, 2006 at 22:08:14 PT
Okay, what's the deal about hair?I know this was a big deal in the '60s and it doesn't quite make sense to me except that it was a gesture of rebellion.I just got my hair cut today, as it turns out. But I'm keeping the facial hair, I've grown to like it.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on August 17, 2006 at 19:45:18 PT
Brother Jones!
Lol!Oh...Thank you!
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Comment #12 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on August 17, 2006 at 19:33:24 PT
That would be brother, but a sibling's a sibling,
so you can call me brother, or you can call me sister, or you can call me Sinse, or you can call be Jones, or you can call me Ray Jay....buts cha doesn't has ta call me a #!$&#*%&^%$!But I'll probably answer to it, anyway, ha ha.Just a little humor there (very little) on my part, Sister Hope, but any interest in my genitalia is always appreciated.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on August 17, 2006 at 19:25:40 PT

Neil Young
He truly is an amazing, gifted person. In so many ways, too.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on August 17, 2006 at 19:23:13 PT

Neil still does sound young. He can't hit some of the high notes he did as well but he said one time on a NPR interview that he can't sing very well. Sure! LOL!I think he likes breaking guitar strings because it seems he's been doing that in almost all the concerts on the tour this year when he is playing Rockin in The Free World. I've read personal interviews from people who went to different concerts and they said they have never heard it performed as good as it is has been on this tour. They say it's the best they have ever heard.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on August 17, 2006 at 19:09:18 PT

In Honor of Hair
Musical: HairSong: Hair *** 
She asks me whyI'm just a hairy guyI'm hairy noon and nightHair that's a frightI'm hairy high and lowDon't ask me whyDon't knowIt's not for lack of breakLike the Grateful DeadDarlingGimme a head with hairLong beautiful hairShining, gleaming,Streaming, flaxen, waxenGive me down to there hairShoulder length or longerHere baby, there mamaEverywhere daddy daddyHair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hairFlow it, show itLong as God can grow itMy hairLet it fly in the breezeAnd get caught in the treesGive a home to the fleas in my hairA home for fleasA hive for beesA nest for birdsThere ain't no wordsFor the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my...
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on August 17, 2006 at 19:08:50 PT

A good one!
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on August 17, 2006 at 19:01:31 PT

Sister Jones!Or is that Brother?
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Comment #6 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on August 17, 2006 at 18:58:15 PT

Haaaiiirrr! (Hair! Hair! Hair!)
Grow it! Show it!But don't do no tests on it!My hair!
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on August 17, 2006 at 18:13:46 PT

Neil Young still sounds so young. He doesn't have an old man's voice. Amazingly so, to me.Actually, I've had people say that about me.But he does. He sounds like a young man, still.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on August 17, 2006 at 18:04:34 PT

Gives Freak Flag a whole new meaning!
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Comment #3 posted by Wayne on August 17, 2006 at 17:55:04 PT

Yeah, if some employer told me to take a hair follicle test, I would piss on them and say "Here, have this instead."
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on August 17, 2006 at 17:48:12 PT

Here's a fact
The only way anyone is ever going to get hair off my body for "hair-strand drug analysis" is to snip it from my cold, dead corpse.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 17, 2006 at 09:58:59 PT

Urine Testing Turf
It's all about the money.
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