Louisiana employers now can drug test employees’ hair samples, thanks to a recent amendment to the State’s drug testing statute.

Signed by Governor Bobby Jindal on June 5, 2015, House Bill 379 closes an 18 year-old loophole in Louisiana’s drug testing law, which permitted employers to drug test hair specimens (in addition to blood, saliva and urine), but did not authorize any laboratories to actually process the results of hair testing.   Prior to the recent amendment, employers were required to use only laboratories certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”) or the College of American Pathologists/Forensic Urine Drug Testing for all employee drug testing.  As neither certification allows for the testing of hair specimens, employers were de facto prohibited from hair testing.  (Click here to read our recent blog on SAMSHA’s solicitation of comments on hair testing for drugs).

House Bill 379 amends the law to allow employers to use laboratories certified for forensic hair drug testing by the College of American Pathologists.  The law went into effect immediately.