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Drug Testing; Nail, Hair, or Urine?

Rxpert Solutions > Blogs > Drug Testing; Nail, Hair, or Urine?

There are many types of drug tests available, how do you know which one to use? Well, let’s look at the differences. Nail and hair drug testing have a long window of detection, making them an excellent way of testing for habitual drug use. The window for nail testing is 6-12 months and the window for hair is 3-6 months. Nails and hair take some time to grow, making these two testing methods useful for a history of drug use, but they’re not ideal for drug use that day. If you identify someone with seemingly impaired behavior, doing a nail or hair test will not confirm they were impaired at that time. The best way to determine if someone is/was recently impaired is by using a urine test. A urine test will show fentanyl in the system for 8-24 hours after last use. Codeine can be detected for 1-2 days, oxycodone for 1-4 days, morphine for 3 days, and hydromorphone & hydrocodone can be detected in the urine for up to 2-4 days after use, etc.

There are also blood and saliva tests, which in some cases may be more appropriate depending on time frames and which drug you suspect. Blood tests are used more often at the scene of an accident, to detect if those involved were under the influence. The window to detect drugs in the blood is very short, up to a few hours. Blood tests are one of the most accurate tests. Saliva tests are similar in that it does not show a person’s long term drug use, only if drugs were used recently, and it’s a very non-invasive test.

What does your facility do? Do you always use one specific test, or do you choose the testing method based on certain conditions? If you are an expert in testing, I would love to hear from you to discuss the topic.

Our References

Terri is absolutely phenomenal. She is an incredibly knowledgeable pharmacy resource. As the medication safety officer, the quality initiatives she implemented not only impacted the patients at our medical center but also reached into the community. Terri is a genuine professional who upholds accountability while creating community among her team members. She is a great listener to identify friction points and has actionable ideas to implement improvements.

T. Eagle. MBA, MLS(ASCP), CLS Lab Operations Manager

Terri is an expert at prospective risk identification -Failure, Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). Terri participated in CHPSO Patient Safety Safe Tables and was part of the Hospital Quality Institute’s Regional Quality and Patient Safety Leader Network.
She is an excellent public speaker and communicates well with public and professional audiences. I look forward to her continued work in medication safety.

Regional Quality Network at HQI

Terri has done a tremendous job with the controlled substance diversion program. She has had such a positive impact and has really made the hospital a safer place.

Tri-City Medical Center
Nurse Manager

We would not be where we are with the improvements we have made with opioid prescribing if it were not for Terri driving the process.

Tri-City Emergency Medical Group
Chief Physician

In addition to understanding the ins and outs of the [controlled substance use] process completely, she is very proactive in coming to me with provider issues that she detects. She truly balances the administrative duties and the regulatory components demand with a keen sense of what my practitioners do and what their needs are on the ground. Terri is instrumental in working with my department, balancing patient care, cooperation, ability, and integrity to get the job done.

UCSD Medical Center
Chief Anesthesiologist

Terri is knowledgeable and effective in pharmacy leadership. She has the ability to be able to anticipate and prepare for the future. Her ability to utilize resources effectively in this changing environment is a strong asset. She can adapt, evolve, mentor and still never say “no” when asked to assist. She exhibits great abilities to be flexible and is a “self starter”. She has a pleasant yet effective demeanor that commands results.

Candace Fong, Pharm D
System Director of Pharmacy and Medication Safety Common Spirit Health

Terri has always impressed me as being very smart. resourceful, creative, and easy to work with. Terri’s commitment to medication safety permeated our organization, raising the awareness of this important issue throughout all levels of the institution. Terri has always been engaged, cooperative, and generous with her time.

Cary Mells, MD
Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine Tri-City Medical Center

Terri has done more for the Pharmacy in her few months as Interim Pharmacy Director than any other Director has done during my 12 years here.

Anita Kennedy, MBA
VP of Ancillary Services Methodist Hospital

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Address: 950 Boardwalk Suite 305, San Marcos, CA 92078

  • 760.705.4078
  • tvidals@rxpert.solutions