Why choose AlphaBiolabs for hair drug testing?

  • Rapid results
  • Highly competitive prices in accordance with LAA codified rates
  • ISO 17025 UKAS-accredited testing laboratory (No. 2773) for hair drug testing
  • Wide range of drugs tested
  • Legally defensible results and reports accepted in every UK family court
  • Suitable for the legal profession, social workers, employers, and members of the public
  • In-house toxicology experts available for advice
  • Nationwide network of sample collectors
  • FREE legally-instructed sample collections at our nationwide Walk-in Centres
  • Member of the Society of Hair Testing with analysis carried out to internationally-agreed standards

Hair drug testing explained

  • 1 Hair drug testing is also known as hair strand testing (HST) or hair follicle testing. It is the gold standard in toxicological analysis.
  • 2 The test works by analysing a cut hair sample for the presence of drugs and their metabolites (breakdown products).
  • 3 When a person consumes drugs, they are broken down by the liver, and some of the drug and its metabolites are absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • 4 Through the bloodstream, they then enter the hair follicle and become trapped in the innermost layer of the hair shaft. This makes it possible to detect them during analysis at the toxicology laboratory.
  • 5 It is possible for drugs to remain detectable in a cut hair sample for up to 12 months, depending on the length of hair available for testing, and when the drugs were consumed.

Segmented or overview analysis?

There are two methods available for head hair drug testing – segmented analysis or overview analysis.

Segmented analysis:

  • Most detailed and comprehensive form of hair strand testing
  • Segments the hair into 1cm sections, for a month-by-month profile
  • Useful if you need to identify a trend in drug use, such as an increase or decrease over time, or to highlight intermittent use
  • Can be used to identify patterns in drug use for up to 12 months

Overview analysis:

  • Provides a more general insight into a person’s drug use
  • Any episodes of drug use are averaged out over the period being tested
  • Not possible to specify in which month the drugs are likely to have been consumed
  • Maximum length of hair that can be tested is 3cms, which provides an overview of 3 months
  • Maximum overview period is 12 months, reported as 4 x 3-month overviews
Hair drug testing

What drugs we test for

The main drugs we test for include:

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

We can also test for:

  • GHB
  • LSD
  • Spice
  • Steroids
  • Tramadol
  • Any other drug upon request

For an even more thorough insight, we also offer a FREE Drug Screen Plus service. This will tell you if any additional substances were present, even if you did not specifically ask us to test for them.

Sample collection

  • The part of the head from which the sample is taken will depend on the length of hair required for analysis. For example, a longer section of hair will be required for a 12-month analysis, compared to a 3-month analysis.
  • Around 200 strands of head hair are cut from the root, as close to the scalp as possible. The sample collector will assess the most suitable and discreet sample site, based on the testing requirements, and will always discuss this with the sample donor first.
  • If it is not possible to take a sample of head hair, body hair can be collected from the underarm, leg, chest, or face. However, unlike head hair, body hair cannot be segmented to provide a month-by-month profile.
  • If it is not possible to take a sample of head hair, body hair can be collected from the underarm, leg, chest, or face. However, unlike head hair, body hair cannot be segmented to provide a month-by-month profile.
  • We have a UK-wide network of professional sample collectors, who can collect samples from an address of your choice, including homes, offices, workplaces, hostels, and prisons
  • Samples can also be collected from any of our nationwide Walk in Centres and such collections are FREE for legally-instructed cases. Find cout more about our sample collection service

Frequently Asked Questions

Our hair drug testing is 100% accurate and reliable based on the samples we receive at our laboratory.

We are accredited by UKAS to the quality technical standard of ISO 17025 (No. 2773) and certified to ISO 9001.

We follow cut-off guidelines for hair drug testing as set by the Society of Hair Testing, and our toxicologists also work within the framework of Family Law, following Part 25 of the Family Procedure Rules (2010).

The cost of a hair drug test varies depending on the requirements of the instructing party.

If you have received a quote for hair drug testing from another testing laboratory, we will match their price and reduce it by a further 5%. This makes AlphaBiolabs the most cost-effective solution for your legal drug testing needs.

To request a quote for hair drug testing, simply complete our online form, and a member of our Legal sales team will be in touch to discuss your needs.

You can also call 0333 600 1300 or email testing@alphabiolabs.com for more information.

If head hair is not available, body hair can be used as a sample.

This can be collected from the face, leg, arm, chest, back or underarm.

Whereas head hair can be segmented to provide month-by-month profiles for drug use, body hair cannot be segmented because of the variable rate of growth. For this reason, body hair can only be used to provide a drug use overview of up to 12 months. Body hair is also collected by weight, rather than the length of the head hair strand.