time I read that some employers were instituting drug testing policies
for their employess. One of the methods used was to take a sample of
the employee's hair. Detectable traces of any narcotics taken are present
in the hair of the user. For example, if someone used *** today
then traces of *** would be present at the base of the hair. If that
person's hair grows at .5" per month, then four months from now there
would be detectable traces of *** 2" from the base of the hair.
This hair testing method was concieved to catch employees who used ***
like ***, which clear urine testing a few days after use.
In athletics there is an analogous situation with abuse of ***anabolic
steroids. The steroids clear urine testing in about ten days. I wondered,
why couldn't hair testing be used to determine an athlete's drug status
over a much longer period of time (months) than urine testing (days)?
I called an athletic drug testing lab in the US and asked the question
of a doctor there. His answer was that it is possible that hair testing
could be used to detect steroid and/or other drug abuse, but that funding
has not been available to investigate this possiblity.
It seems extremely ironic to me that it has already been determined that
hair testing is an effective method for detecting narcotic drug abuse (i.e.
the funding for that research was forthcoming), but that funding to
explore the possibility that hair testing could be used to detect abuse
of *** which enhance athletic performance has not been forthcoming.
I wonder how the funding for such research could be generated. It seems
a shame that it's not being persued aggressively.
On a side note...... It could be a funny situation if hair testing did
turn out to be the answer!! Imagine new rules of competition. All
athletes must show up at the competition with at least 4" of hair on their
head (providing an 8 month history of drug use/non-use). After they take
samples of your hair you are free to get a hair cut or shave your head
(especially male swimmers!).