Fingernail Drug Test
The truth is fingernail or nail bed drug tests are extremely difficult to beat if you are a drug abuser.
Nail bed drug test is similar to the hair drug test with a detection window of 3-6 months and unlike the hair, drugs can get trapped in the keratin fibers of the nail making it near impossible to beat compared to oral saliva or mouth swab drug test or even hair drug test that have a higher success rate.
Keep in mind: Unlike hair testing, nail testing can only tell you if a substance or Drug was used but not when it was used. Since nail bed drug test has similar detection window compared to hair drug, check if you pass a hair drug test through our hair drug testing kit.
Sample collection is only possible where fingernails and toenails are long enough, and where they have a normal appearance and are not contaminated with dirt, oil, nail polish or false nails. If you have diabetes or peripheral artery disease, extra care is require to collect the sample.
Fingernails and hair are made of the same material, keratin. As the nail grows, substances can pass from the blood vessels below the nail into the keratin fibers where they become trapped. Fingernails are four times thicker than the typical strand of hair and often capture more of a substance than hair can.
If you are wondering “How to beat a Nail Drug Test,” there are two options. One, you can trim your nails until the end of your nail bed so that the tester is unable to take your nail samples for drug testing. Two, you can replace your nails with false nails. Of course, there is one more option - “Refrain from Drugs, Get Clean”.
Table of Contents
- How To Beat A Fingernail Or Nail Bed Drug Test?
- What is a Fingernail or Nail Bed Drug Test?
- How is Fingernail Keratin Different From Hair Keratin?
- What You Need To Know About Nail Drug Testing?
- Drug Detection in Fingernails
- How Does The Nail Drug Test Work?
- How to Pass a Fingernail Drug Test?
It is threatening that your nails can record your drug usage. Even though they are dead cells, they act as a reservoir of drug traces where your earlier drug usage may be brought to light through this test. It may pose a threat even if you are an occasional smoker. The fingernail drug test kits can exhibit your drug usage even if you are an occasional drinker. It is one such test which is a bit tougher to cheat or remove the drug traces.
Don't worry. There are some hacks where you can outperform the Nail Bed Drug Test despite taking moderate drugs. If you are a heavy smoker, there are some solutions too.
But before that, let us explore through some basics about the Nail Bed Drug test, the nature of their test and how it works.
What is a Fingernail or Nail Bed Drug Test?
A nail bed drug test or a fingernail drug test is a method employed to screen the nails for the presence of drug(s) or its metabolites. Collection of nails for testing is easier and is done under direct supervision of the collector. The results are stable as it stores the drug traces for an extended period of time compared to hair.
Drug abuse had been increasing rapidly year after year, but the drug testing methods were not accurate enough to track down the illegal drug usage. Hence, the drug testers came up with some new testing methods to stay ahead of the curve to curtail the illegal drug abusers in style. In that sense, they identified that dead cells like hair and nails retain the metabolites for a longer time than other parts of the body.
After the successful evaluation and accurate testing results through hair drug testing, researchers put forth fingernail for drug testing. They justified that since the nail is also a dead cell, it would have the same accuracy as the hair drug testing.
According to the lab sources, Hair and Nail drug testing is harder to cheat. Fingernails are composed of keratin, the same complex substance that is present in the hair. To be specific, it is the keratin that connects the dead cell (hair) to the root up to the dermis. Similarly, it is the nail cells that connect itself to the root of the skin.
Keratin in the fingernails gathers and stores the chemical components that get circulated in the blood from the root of the dermis. It sends the drug metabolites to the nail fibers which get stored in the nail for a long time. There are certain differences between fingernail and hair keratin growth, functioning of keratin, etc., that you should know.
How is Fingernail Keratin Different From Hair Keratin?
Fingernail keratin is four times thicker than the keratin found in the hair. One such reason is the direction of their growth. While the hair keratin grows in one direction from the root to the tip, the nail keratin grows in two directions. The nail grows from the germinal matrix and as they elongate, a new keratin layer forms over and below the older nail forming a new layer of nail on both sides. This process repeats adding layer over layer forming a thick and long nail.
If you think that it is the germinal matrix that is feeding the drug substances from the blood to the nail, then it is a myth. The real fact is that the drug enters into the nail bed through the blood vessels directly. As the nail grows out, the drug and alcohol biomarkers get trapped in the nail matrix of keratin which grows along with the nail. Chronic drug users will have increased intensity of the drug traces in their nails. Occasional users get tracked with the metabolites in their nail based on their usage.
Of note is that the toenails provide a longer detection window than the fingernails. Hence, if the donor is unable to provide adequate fingernail sample, then toenails will be considered.
There are various fingernail drug testing facts that may benefit you to beat the fingernail and alcohol nail drug tests.
What You Need To Know About Nail Drug Testing?
The fingernail drug testing can bring out the drug use history for up to eight months and toenails 12 months. Nail samples can expose the usage of illicit drugs like AMP, MAMP, BAR, COC, OPI, BZO, etc.
Nail drug testing, despite being the newest method in drug testing, had been used in previous investigational processes since the 1800s. Some of them include
- Environmental exposure analytics
- Poison intake investigation measures
- Forensics, etc.
During the drug therapy monitoring, nail drug testing had been found as a valuable testing method for illicit drugs. AMP and MAMP were the first drugs that were traced with the nail drug testing during the early 1984.
In general, a 3-mm nail sample can provide a history of drug exposure for approximately 3 to 12 months after use.
Drug Detection in Fingernails
Drug detection in fingernails is not a stable measure as it depends upon the growth of the nails. It differs from person to person based on age, health condition, chronic diseases, drug usage, weather, ambience, etc. As we know, drug metabolites can accumulate in the nails for about three to six months, in some instances where people live in damp areas, the drug traces can get away within three months. However, in reference to the accuracy of the results, fingernail drug testing provides accurate results compared to the hair drug tests. It is because the fingernails do not have any pigments that can alter the drug test results. To be short, detecting drugs in the fingernails are more accurate with less moderation or alteration in final results. This indicates the fact that hacking the fingernail drug test is highly impossible.
How Does The Nail Drug Test Work?
The nail drug testing laboratories undertake certain procedures:
- They collect the nail samples and wash it with acetone for initial testing.
- If it is for EtG or PPFG analysis, then the samples would be washed with hexane.
- After the wash, the nails would be dried at room temperature.
- They are pulverized by the mini ball beater and they are calibrated.
- After pulverization, the acid digestion is carried out; 0.1 N of hydrochloric acid is taken at 53 degree Celsius to check for certain drugs like AMP, COC and selective opioids.
- Sonication of the nail samples is carried out using methanol for two to three hours. The nail dust is separated and treated with 0.1 N of hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide for THC analysis.
- If it is for EtG or PPFG analysis, the nail samples will be subjected to sonication in the de-ionized water for two hours.
- After the above initial preparation, the ELISA testing method is used for preliminary illicit drug screening except EtG, KET, BUP, NALT, NAL, NKET, 6-BNAL, BTF, NALB and PPFG.
- After the confirmation of the drug traces in the preliminary testing, consecutive confirmatory testing using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) is done to confirm the presence of drug metabolites in the nail samples.
With these strict guidelines followed during the drug test, do you think that you can cheat the fingernail drug test without traces? That is nearly impossible.
Despite the impossibilities, there are some hacks which could give you a ray of hope.
How to Pass a Fingernail Drug Test?
These are some possibilities that may help you to pass the fingernail drug test:
- Fingernail drug test can be undertaken only if there is an acceptable growth of nails in the fingers. So, you could keep your nail growth low to escape the fingernail drug test. Extend the time until you are sure that you are free of drugs and passed 12 weeks without consuming drugs.
- The nails should be of normal appearance for the drug tests to happen. Falsify your nails using nail polish or false nails to escape the nail test.
Despite these loopholes to escape from the nail drug test, you can also clear the nail drug test by not consuming drugs and keeping yourself clean.
These are some of the methods where you can clear the nail drug test. There is no over-the-counter fingernail drug testing kit, but with a hair drug testing kit, you can compare it for the presence of drugs in your nails.
As the crime and its variations increase, the researchers of the drug testing industry are also coming up with some new solutions where you can identify the drug abuser using certain microbiological and technological factors. Keeping that in mind, being clean would never create any threat to your progress in life. Fingernail drug tests are not deterrents to your career because the real obstacle is the drug and not the drug test.