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Family Physician
Family Physician, Board Certified MRO
Category: Drug Testing
Satisfied Customers: 12816
Experience:  Medical Review Officer - Physician Trained and certified in drug test interpretation
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How far back does a nail and hair follicle drug test go

Resolved Question:

How far back does a nail and hair follicle drug test go back?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Drug Testing
Expert:  Family Physician replied 5 years ago.
Hair tests typically use a standard collection length that is equal to 90 days of average hair growth.

Nail tests can detect use for 6-12 months in some cases.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
is there anywhere in the state of illinois where one can go and have an independant nail test done and would this hold up in a court of law?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
need further info
Expert:  Family Physician replied 5 years ago.
I'm sorry for the delay - I was having a few internet problems earlier

Can you explain the circumstances behind this question.
Why do you want/need a drug test?
Why do you want/need a nail test?
What legal matters are involved?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

an employer is stating that i refused a drug test. i was never offered a drug test. i am licensed by the state and would like to show the employer, state and for my own conviction that i did not or have not used any drugs. i am not being charged with any crime but my license may be on subject to disipline. there is much more to this situation as to why i was my employer acted the way they did. i don't know if this is relevant to you though.

Expert:  Family Physician replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for this additional information:

The problem with nail tests is that the drug is incorporated into the nail as it grows. Drugs you use now, will not be included in any nail clippings used for drug testing for 8-10 monts or more. The fact that you test negative now, really doesn't mean anything at all.

Hair testing is actually more standardized, and has a shorter period until current use is included in the specimen (about 7-10 days).

There are a number of quality medical laboratories who can do such testing including LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics - both of which have multiple locations around the country.

The other issue that makes it difficult to "prove" that you were not trying to avoid a drug test (that is the accusation that the employer made) is that a negative test for drugs A, B, C, D and E does not mean the may not have been using drugs F, G, H, I, or J when you "refused" the test.
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