OGDEN -- Even if you've stopped partying, your hair is still stoned.
And will remain so, officials say, since the coke, meth, marijuana, Oxycontin and so on never processes out of hair like it departs the internal metabolism.
But testing hair for drugs remains a hidden part of the criminal justice system, despite television's depictions otherwise.
Typically it's not needed in a lot of drug prosecutions, since raids, undercover buys and informant testimony typically tie drugs to suspects. It is used most often in juvenile court, where a child's hair is tested to determine if parents expose them to drugs. But those juvenile court sessions are closed to the public.
Even rarer is a defense bid to prove via hair testing that a client is drug-free.
Chris Macfarlane's case awaits a hearing next week for the results of his hair testing. Defense attorney Bernie Allen wants to remove suspected drug use from the deliberations on Macfarlane, accused of leading police on a three-county high-speed chase in July.
The Utah State Crime Laboratory does no hair testing for drugs.
No demand for it, said Jay Henry, director of the state crime lab.
"Maybe David Caruso can tell you how common it is," Henry quipped, referring to the star of the "CSI: Miami" TV series and its unrealistic depictions of forensic technology.
"They use all these laser analysis tools and get instant results. I don't think we even have laser pointers."
Hair drug testing does have a faster turnaround for results than fluid tests. It can be as fast as a day even when hair strands test negative, according to private companies connected to the hair drug-testing industry, one that is focused more on employers testing employees for drug use.
Jim Guernsey, who runs J.A.G Exam Services on 24th Street in Ogden, is affiliated with one of the industry giants, Quest Diagnostics, a nationwide firm. Head hair is the most reliable for testing, he said, as it grows more regularly than body hair.
Professional Services Corp., or PSC, with offices in Ogden and Clearfield, has a number of government contracts to drug test hair and office manager Barbie Upton agreed head hair is prefered.
Her and Guernsey's officer serve as collection points for hair strands, following strict prototocols for securing and documenting the hair from donors for shipment to out-of-state labs. They doubt Utah has a lab doing any drug hair testing and note hair isn't used for alcohol testing.
Head hair generally grows a half-inch a month, they said, so different segments of a hair strand can be correlated to different time periods. The industry standard is to test 11aN2 inch segments, which covers three months based on the growth rate.
The state Division of Child and Family Services contracts with PSC for its hair testing for the division's northern region, which covers Davis County north to the Idaho state line.
"DCFS is our biggest hair test client," Upton said, covering the testing of children for troubled families under supervision by DCFS and juvenile court, sometimes up to 50 cases a month.
PSC also has contracts for drug courts in Davis County and Riverdale. "If a defendant keeps skipping their appointments for urinalysis, a judge tired of their excuses can just order them into hair testing," Upton said.
The DCFS cases are the biggest focus, and carry extra protocols required by the state agency.
"We never want to put a child in danger by making a mistake," Upton said.
Guernsey said slower growing body hair can typically show a year's use of drugs, but Upton was skeptical, saying a six-month snapshot at best is more likely.
Upton uses Omega Labs, another national company, for hair testing. Omega Labs is the major sponsor of the International Forum for Drug and Alcohol Testing, or IFDAT, in Houston next November.
"Omega has emerged as the leader in the hair analysis industry," reads Omega's ad. "We are currently providing services for over 4,000 corporate, government, and court-based clients worldwide."
Meanwhile, Macfarlane's case is set for a Jan. 18 hearing in 1st District Court in Box Elder County for the airing of the results of his hair drug test.
Macfarlane refused to take a breathalyzer test upon his arrest July 21 after leading police on a harrowing 50-mile, high-speed chase that began in Mantua and ended on 12th Street in Ogden.
He has been held in Box Elder County Jail ever since on charges ranging from felony driving under the influence and evading police to numerous misdemeanor traffic charges ranging from speeding to having an alcohol-restricted license. There were no injuries.
Competency evaluations remain in limbo until substance abuse questions are answered, possibly by the drug tests.
Public defender Allen hopes the hair testing will prove negative for drug use six months ago, or at a half-inch of growth a month, 3 inches of hair growth.
"We don't believe he had anything in his system, something else was going on," Allen said, "Mental health issues ...
"He's been a good kid for a while now,. We're trying to determine what made him blow out."