Menu

AlphaBiolabs will donate £5 to charity for every instruction received throughout 2022. Find out more here.

Hair Drug Testing

  • Rapid results
  • Wide range of drugs tested
  • Hair drug testing services for members of the public, the legal profession,
    social workers and employers
  • Winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation
  • Accredited-laboratory processes
  • In-house toxicology experts available for advice
  • Nationwide network of sample collectors and free Walk in Centres

Why choose hair drug testing?

Hair drug testing – also known as hair strand testing (HST) or hair follicle testing – is an extremely useful form of drug testing that can be used to determine whether drugs have been used over a period of time.

It is known as a ‘wide window’ form of testing and can determine a history of drug intake for up to 12 months. Head hair grows at an average rate of 1 cm per month.

Following consumption of a drug and its passage into the bloodstream, a proportion of the drug’s metabolites will enter the hair follicle. Drug use can therefore be established over a defined period using hair strand drug testing/hair follicle drug testing, depending on the length of hair selected.

There are two types of hair drug tests available: overview or segmented analysis.

Segmented analysis

Segmented analysis is the most detailed form of hair strand testing for drugs. By segmenting head hair samples into 1cm sections, a month-by-month profile of drug use can be attained to provide a detailed history of an individual’s drug use.

In cases where one time use of a drug is suspected, the analysis of small segments may help us determine whether an individual has consumed drugs in a narrow timeframe.

In addition, segmented analysis is useful if you need to obtain a trend in drug use, such as to see a decrease or increase in drug use over time, or to highlight intermittent use.

Hair drug testing services for members of the public, the legal profession, social workers and employers

Overview analysis

An overview analysis is beneficial to obtain a general indication of drug use because any episodes of drug taking are averaged out over the period being tested. This could range from 3cm to identify drug use within a 3-month time period, up to 6 or even 12 months, dependent on the length of hair available.

A 6-month overview can also be used to provide two results: one for the first 3 months and a second result for the latter 3 months. However, if an individual has not taken drugs for 2 months but then takes an excessive amount in 1 month, a hair follicle drug test using an overview analysis of 3 months (3cm) will find drug markers along the entire length of the hair.

Analysis type required (months) Number of segments Reported time period Type of Test
3 1 3 months Overview
3 3 3 individual months Segmented
6 2 2 x 3-month periods Overview
6 6 6 individual months Segmented
3 month analysis required
Number of segments Reported time period Type of Test
1 3 months Overview
3 3 individual months Segmented
6 month analysis required
Number of segments Reported time period Type of Test
2 2 x 3-month periods Overview
6 6 individual months Segmented
AlphaBiolabs also offers oral drug testing, urine drug testing and nail drug testing.

Our standard drugs panel:

These are the main drugs we test for:

  • Amphetamine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Ketamine
  • Mephedrone
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Zolpidem

We are also able to arrange hair drug testing for GHB, LSD, Spice, steroids and Tramadol for an additional fee.

Nationwide network of sample collectors and free Walk-in Centres

How are samples collected?

When collecting a sample of head hair for a hair strand test for drugs, around 200 individual strands of head hair (about the width of a pencil) need to be collected from a discreet area on the head, as close to the scalp as possible. 

If head hair is not available, a sample of body hair can be collected from the underarm, chest, leg or face.

The growth rate of body hair differs from head hair, meaning that a sample of body hair can only be used to provide an overview of drug use. Segmented analysis cannot be performed on body hair.

UK-wide sample collection

We have a UK-wide network of sample collectors. Our fully trained sample collectors are able to collect samples for hair follicle drug tests from our nationwide Walk in Centres or from an address of your choice. For further information, please call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300.

AlphaBiolabs can provide hair drug testing to members of the public, social workers, employers, family law firms, legal practitioners, courts and local authorities. Please click here for information on our Workplace Drug Testing and Legal Drug Testing.

We also offer legal DNA and legal alcohol testing services. If you are seeking a legal test, please call 0333 600 1300 or email testing@alphabiolabs.com for our latest offers.

 Call us on 0333 600 1300 to order your Hair drug test now