Washing hair won't beat a drug test, experts warn

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Students looking to beat a drug test at school will do various things, including going cold turkey for a day or week prior to testing; that is, if they know when the testing is done.

Several speakers at Wednesday’s drug awareness forum at River Forest Community Center, warned, however, that those tricks aren’t that effective. Dan Kusinski, a counselor at Saint Patrick High School on the Northwest Side of Chicago, said the private school does test its students, including their hair.

The presence of drugs, either illegal or prescription, remains for some time in hair follicles and can be detected in a test, unlike urine tests where certain drugs can be flushed out of the system before a test is administered.

Kusinski said his school will cut a small portion of a kid’s hair and send those samples off to a testing facility in California. Students, he said, are sometimes shocked when results come back positive.

“The kids think they can get around the hair test, but they can’t,” Kusinski said. “It’s amazing to me whenever I sit in a meeting … You can see the look on their face of shock, because they went to GNC and paid $80 for a bottle of shampoo to wash it out of their hair and all of a sudden they just tested positive. So we know it works.”

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Joel Lessing from 945 Lathrop Forest Park  

Posted: December 12th, 2010 8:31 PM

Do parents who consent to the drug testing of their kids understand that they lose all control of data about a positive test, which can then be stored, sold to potential employers, and/or posted publicly on the internet?

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