• 03-27-2008: San Diego Daily Transcript

    New home hair drug test detects drug use, usage frequency
    By NEPI
    I. RUSSELL, Special to the Daily Transcript

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    A new home-based hair follicle drug test kit called HairConfirm can detect drug use as well as usage frequency for up to 90 days, equipping parents with a valuable new tool for combating substance abuse. Developed by biotech company Confirm BioSciences, the test overcomes the limitations of two- or three-day saliva or urine screenings that enable users to escape detection by avoiding drug use for a short period. It is also the first home hair test to report the amount of each chemical detected as well as whether the results indicate low, medium or high usage. The HairConfirm kit screens for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and phencyclidines, including ecstasy, heroin, codeine, PCP and angel dust. Test results are available online with a specimen ID number and passcode two business days after the lab receives the sample, providing anonymity with no need to supply personal information. Customers without Internet access can opt to receive results by mail. Results are provided in detailed written reports that indicate positive or negative findings for each of the five classes of drugs evaluated, specify the concentration levels of each drug for which results were positive, and allow parents to compare those concentration levels against the ranges typically found in recreational, daily/weekend and constant users. This information, along with a free counseling hotline included in the price of the kit, can assist parents in determining what kind of intervention is needed. Tests are run on small hair samples cut close to the scalp and at least 1.5 inches in length to provide enough hair for a 90-day evaluation. A second test is performed on all positive results to eliminate false positives, ensuring accurate results. Even the smallest amount of a drug will show up on a test, and negative tests definitively prove that an individual has not consumed illicit drugs in the last 90 days. 

    Two-thirds of parents would ask their teenage son or daughter to take a home drug test as a means of keeping them away from drugs, according to a 2006 survey of 2,064 parents around the country by Washington, D.C.based opinion research and polling organization RT Strategies.

     “HairConfirm is designed to help parents take a proactive role in preventing their children’s illegal drug use,” said Zeynep Ilgaz, CEO of Confirm BioSciences. “Talking with your child about drugs and taking preventive measures like hair drug testing can be a significant factor in preventing substance abuse.”  

    Teens Today research from SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and Liberty Mutual Group has suggested that parents are the No. 1 deterrent to a teen’s decision to use drugs. Studies by that group have shown that the average age of first drug use is 13; more than one-third of teens have used drugs, including almost one in six middle school students and 30 percent of their high school counterparts reporting marijuana use; and 13 percent of high school students report using drugs such as cocaine, crack or ecstasy. In 2006, 21 percent of 8th graders, 36 percent of 10th graders and 48 percent of 12th graders reported having taken illicit drugs at some point, according to the annual Monitoring the Future survey of 50,000 students in those grades in more than 400 schools nationwide funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

    Hair follicle drug testing is a highly trusted method of drug detection regularly used by employers and law enforcement agencies because of its accuracy, long window of detection and resistance to tampering. In two independent studies, hair drug testing uncovered five to 10 times more drug users than urinalysis. Urinalysis also carries the risk of substitution of a sample, dilution and addition of a foreign substance designed to skew the results.  

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    Categories: HairConfirm In the News

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