Opiate Hair Panel Upgrade Can Detect Lower Levels of Oxycodone and Oxymorphone

Posted: July 03, 2019

drug testing with expanded opiates

When implementing a hair test into your drug abuse company policy, you might want to consider testing with expanded opiates. With the increasing opioid epidemic, Info Cubic LLC is here to share some information to help your company decide how to proceed with opioid testing.

Quest Diagnostic reviews its data every year and compares trends to previous years. According to its 2018 Drug Testing Index, there was a spike in the opiates drug category when testing with the expanded hair test. To view the percentages from 2014 to 2018, click here

What is the hair panel upgrade?

Previously, when the laboratory tested for expanded opiates, the panel included the following drugs, initial levels and confirmation levels:

  • Morphine – 500pg/mg
  • Codeine – 500pg/mg
  • Hydromorphone – 500pg/mg
  • Hydrocodone – 500pg/mg
  • 6-AM – 500pg/mg
  • Oxycodone – 500pg/mg
  • Oxymorphone – 500pg/mg

Now, with the expanded opiate testing availability, the Oxycodone and Oxymorphone levels of testing are:

  • 200 pg/mg for initial testing
  • 200 pg/mg for confirmation testing

If your organization considers a policy move to include hair testing, you can expect there will likely be an increase in positivity rate for this method of testing due to the extended amount of time the drug stays present in the hair.

How does hair get collected?

Hair test collections are all conducted under direct observation. The collector cuts a small sample of donor hair close to the scalp, and the hair strands are tested at the laboratory. 

If the donor has no head hair or hair shorter than one-half-inch long, the collector will use hair from the chest, underarm, or leg — in that order of preference. The amount collected will be much more than what is collected on the head, as the hair is lighter in weight and more is needed for testing.

Why should you implement hair testing?

Out of all of the drug testing methods, hair testing provides the longest detection period — a 90-day drug use history. With the long detection window, hair testing has the highest positivity rate compared to urine. If your organization is concerned about drug use, this method would be ideal. Your company and staff can have peace of mind knowing you are hiring qualified employees with safety and security as a priority. You can be confident you are working towards a safer workplace.

Info Cubic is here to help guide your organization to find the best type of program(s) that fits your organization’s drug free workplace policy. Contact our Drug Screening Business Coordinator at 877-360-4636 or click here to get the conversation started.