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Hair Drug Testing

Hair Testing for Drugs and Substances of Abuse


  • Legally defensible Analysis Results and Expert Reports accepted in every UK family court issued in 5 working days on average
  • ISO 17025 UKAS Accredited Testing Laboratory (No. 7516) for a wide range of drugs in hair
  • Analysis in accordance with the Society of Hair Testing internationally agreed standards
  • Direct contact with our experts with over 50 years combined experience in hair drug and alcohol testing
  • Competitive pricing in accordance with LAA codified rates

Hair Drug Testing Explained


Hair grows at an average rate of 1cm per month; therefore a 3cm section of scalp hair can provide an approximate 3 month retrospective profile of drug use. Due to the growth rate, hair provides a unique window of detection covering months rather than days that urine or oral fluid analysis can show.

When a drug enters the body, it is transported via the blood stream and incorporated into the hair follicle. As the hair grows, it incorporates trace amounts of drugs in the hair shaft.

To avoid confusion, we analyse samples of the hair strand for traces of drugs, not the hair follicle. The hair follicle is a small tubular cavity within the skin that contains the root of the hair.

Our experts analyse hair samples to detect these trace amounts of drugs and their metabolites (a substance produced by the body when a drug is taken and can be used to show direct usage). From our laboratory analysis we can provide an expert interpretation on the levels of drugs detected, all in an average of 5 working days of receiving the hair sample.

Month by Month or Overview Analysis?


By segmenting scalp hair samples into monthly 1cm sections, a month by month profile of drug use can be attained. This segmental analysis can help to show a trend (i.e. increase or decrease) of use, or help to highlight low level instances. As an example; a 3 month section of scalp hair can be broken down into monthly sections to show an individual result covering March, a separate result covering February and another result covering January.

An overview analysis will cover a whole 3cm (3 month) section and will identify drug use within that 3 month time period. Consecutive sections of either 1cm (1 month) or 3cm (3 months) can be used to assess drug use for as long as the hair is, i.e. a hair sample 12cm in length can profile 12 months of drug use.

Body hair samples are unsuitable for sectional month by month analysis.

Drug Detection List


Drugs

Antidepressants

Class

Description

Used to treat depression and anxiety. A hair drug test for the antidepressants drug group includes fluoxetine (Prozac), trazadone and clozapine.

Anti-Epileptics (incl. Pregablin and Gabapentin)

Available in capsule, tablet or liquid form, both drugs are used to treat seizures and nerve pain. Pregablin can also be used to treat anxiety.

Benzodiazepines

C

Prescribed to reduce anxiety, our hair test is able to detect desmethyldiazepam, diazepam (Valium), oxazepam, temazepam, nitrazepam and flunitrazepam (Rohypnol).

Buprenorphine

B

Buprenorphine (Subutex) is used in the treatment of heroin addiction. A synthetic opiate, it is commonly prescribed in a tablet form; however can be crushed to be injected or inhaled.

Cannabis

B

A naturally occurring drug made from parts of the cannabis plant, the main active compound is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Our test for cannabis looks for THC as well as two metabolites which are 11 Nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-THC and 11-Hydroxy-delta-9-THC.

Cathinone

C

Cathinone (Khat), the active ingredient of the Khat plant, is a stimulant with similar effects to amphetamine. Long term use may cause insomnia, anorexia, anxiety, depression and paranoia.

Cocaine (incl. Crack Cocaine)

A

Obtained from the leaves of the coca plant, cocaine is a stimulant drug of the central nervous system. High doses can cause respiratory or heart failure. Our hair test for cocaine will also look for Benzoylecgonine, AEME and Cocaethylene.

Ecstasy (MDMA)

A

Ecstasy is a white crystalline powder known to chemists as MDMA; most commonly sold in a tablet form. Side effects can include paranoia and psychotic states. Our hair test looks for MDMA as well as its metabolite MDA, which is used to show direct usage.

Fentanyl

A

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which mimics the body’s natural painkillers, blocking pain messages to the brain. A psychoactive drug, covered by the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act, means it’s illegal to give away or sell.

Ketamine

B

Ketamine is a strong anaesthetic drug used during operations on humans and animals. If high enough doses are taken, the aesthetic properties of Ketamine can come into effect causing unconsciousness or even death.

LSD

A

A hallucinogenic drug derived from the fungus ergot, LSD is often in a liquid form that is dropped onto paper sheets or sugar cubes. The effects are dose dependent, can last up to 12 hours and the user will not know how strong it is until it is taken.

Mephedrone (M-Cat)

B

Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is derived from cathinone (the same chemical found in the plant Khat). It can cause anxiety, paranoia and risk of over stimulating the heart.

Methadone

A

A synthetic opiate used medically in the treatment of heroin dependence. Our hair drug test for methadone also includes its metabolite EDDP, the presence of which can indicate direct usage of methadone.

Methamphetamine (incl. Amphetamine)

B

Methamphetamine (crystal meth) is a stimulant of the central nervous system with a high potential for misuse and dependence. It is a synthetic drug, chemically similar to amphetamine (speed).

Amphetamine is a stimulant drug that increases alertness, concentration and the energy of the user.

Opiates (incl. Heroin)

A

Opiates are a group of drugs that contain constituents derived from the opium poppy plant. A hair test for the opiates drug group will look for 6-MAM (a heroin specific metabolite used to show heroin use), morphine, codeine and dihydrocodeine (found in over the counter pain relief remedies).

PCP

A

PCP (also known as Angel Dust) is a synthetic drug initially manufactured as a veterinary anaesthetic. It can have a number of effects on the user including distortion of the senses, dreamlike states, depression, paranoia and sometimes violent behaviour.

Pethidine

A

Pethidine is a synthetic substance, which is more sedative and has a more rapid onset and a shorter duration of action than morphine.

Psychoactive Substances (‘Legal Highs’)

Various

Taken for their euphoric effects, these drugs are often sold as ‘research chemicals’, ‘bath salts’ or ‘not for human consumption’. Controlled under the Psychoactive Substances Act, we can detect 38 different compounds that may be present in Psychoactive Substances.

Steroids

C

Steroids are drugs that mimic certain natural hormones in the body that regulate and control how the body works and develops. There are two main groups of natural steroids – anabolic steroids and corticosteroids. Anabolic steroids are available as tablets or as a liquid for injection.

Spice (Synthetic Cannabinoids)

Various

Spice is a group of synthetic cannabis compounds which mimic the effects of cannabis. These compounds do not produce positive results for drugs and metabolites within the Lextox cannabis drug group. We currently test for 9 spice compounds.

Tramadol

C

Tramadol is a prescribed synthetic drug that is used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain relief.

Zolpidem (Hypnotics)

C

Used to promote sleep and aid in the treatment of insomnia. The drug group includes zolpidem. They are not a benzodiazepine, however act on the same areas of the brain.

Any Questions?

Want to learn what time period a hair drug test can cover? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for the answer to this and other information on hair drug testing.

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