blog Drug Crime Court-Ordered Hair Sample Drug Tests in Colorado

Court-Ordered Hair Sample Drug Tests in Colorado

By Colorado Attorney-at-law on August 8, 2022

Drug testing is often a condition of probation or parole. For example, weekly random drug testing may be required. The court may order hair follicle drug testing in cases where it wants to examine long-term drug use. Hair follicle testing can detect drug consumption for up to 90 days and provide a clearer picture of habitual use than urine testing.

What Types of Drugs Are Commonly Screened for in Hair Follicle Testing?

Hair follicle drug testing can be used to screen for a large number of drugs. Depending on the purpose of the screening a 5 panel, 5 panel with expanded opiates, 10 panel, or 12 panel hair follicle drug tests may be ordered. Drugs commonly screened for with hair follicle testing include:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opioids
  • MDMA
  • PCP

Testing may also be tailored to screen for alcohol consumption.

How Is Hair Follicle Testing Different Than Other Types of Drug Tests?

Drugs remain detectable in the hair follicles for much longer than they stay in the blood, urine, or saliva. Hair follicle tests can be employed to identify drug use much further back than with urine testing. There is no way to cheat with this type of drug testing, except perhaps to shave all the hair off the body and the head. As long as it is administered properly, hair follicle drug testing is generally very effective.

How Is Hair Follicle Drug Testing Done?

When you submit to hair follicle drug testing, a technician collects a hair sample from your head. The sample is usually no thicker than a finger and approximately one and a half to two inches long. If a person is bald, hair can be taken from another body part rather than the head. A chain of custody procedure is used to send the hair sample to a certified lab for analysis. Once the analysis is complete, it is verified by a licensed physician, and the results are released. Results are typically available in two to three days for a negative test and approximately five days for a positive test.

What Are the Legal Challenges with Hair Follicle Drug Testing?

Although hair follicle drug testing is considered generally effective, there are some legal challenges to this method:

  • Levels of melanin (dark pigment) in the hair affect its ability to absorb drug metabolites (substances formed in metabolizing drugs). Darker hair has better binding ability for cocaine and amphetamines than lighter hair. This can lead to discrepancies.
  • Exposure can be mistaken for drug use. Hair follicle drug testing will show any level of exposure to a drug if a person is around it but not using it. For example, it can produce a false positive for someone who has been in an environment containing cocaine with no use by that person.
  • Certain religions object to cutting the hair. For example, hair follicle drug testing may go against the religious beliefs of East Indian Sikhs.

Why Should You Speak with a Lawyer If You Have Been Ordered to Take a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

If you are on probation or parole for a criminal offense, it is wise to seek counsel from an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney regarding all matters that arise in your case. A positive result with a hair follicle drug test could significantly impact your freedom and your future, even if false positive.

At Whitaker & Penix, LLC., we believe everyone has a right to an attorney and deserves a strong defense. We use our knowledge and experience to protect your rights and advise you of your options. Call a Breckenridge drug crime defense lawyer at (970) 368-0602 if you have been ordered to take a hair follicle drug test.

Posted in: Drug Crime