Adult & Child Drug Testing Lab

Hair Drug Testing

Recently, hair testing has come to be seen as a powerful tool for the detection of drug and alcohol abuse. Hair provides a long-term history of drug and alcohol abuse by trapping biomarkers in the fibers of the growing hair strand. When collected close to the scalp, hair can provide up to a 3 month history of alcohol and drug abuse. Drug and alcohol biomarkers can appear in scalp hair 1-7 days after the last use. Hair offers a sample that is simple to collect, somewhat difficult to adulterate, and easy to ship. A 1.5 inch sample of about 200 strands of hair (about the size of a #2 pencil) closest to the scalp will give 100mg of hair, the ideal sample for screening and confirmation. For EtG, add-ons and/or tests above 10-panel, 150mg of specimen is recommended. We recommend weighing the specimen on a jeweler's scale. If scalp hair is not available, an equal amount of body hair may be collected. When referring to head hair, we are referring to scalp hair only. Body hair refers to all other types of hair (facial, axillary, etc).

D/L Methamphetamine Isomer testing is available upon request for specimens that test positive for methamphetamine.

Drug Panels

  • 17 Panel
  • 16 Panel
  • 15 Panel
  • 14 Panel
  • 12 Panel
  • 10 Panel
amphetamine, MDA, MDEA, MDMA, methamphetamine
benzoylecgonine, cocaethylene, cocaine, norcocaine
6-MAM, codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, norhydrocodone
phencyclindine (PCP)
alprazolam, diazepam, midazolam, nordiazepam, oxazepam, temazepam
amobarbital, butalbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, secobarbital
EDDP, methadone
propoxyphene, norpropoxyphene
oxycodone, oxymorphone, noroxycodone
ketamine, norketamine
buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine
zolpidem (e.g. Ambien®)
*Click the green and white plus sign beside each drug class to view the substances within each class.
Add-Ons Available
High-Potency Opioids (HPOs)
6-β-Naltrexol (naltrexone metabolite), butorphanol (e.g. Stadol®), nalbuphine (e.g. Nubain®), naloxone (e.g. Narcan®), naltrexone (e.g. Revia®)
EtG (Direct Ethanol Biomarker)
ethyl glucuronide
Propofol Glucuronide
propofol glucuronide (e.g. Diprivan®)


Collection Instructions
Collection Steps
Prior to each collection
Prior to each collection, wipe the scissors, clips, and comb with a non-ethanol based alcohol pad.
Examine the donor’s hair
Examine the donor’s hair prior to beginning the collection. Check that the donor’s hair is not chemically treated or synthetic.
Verify the donor’s identity
Verify the donor’s identity with a government-issued photo ID.
On the Custody and Control Form do the following
On the Custody and Control Form do the following:
A. Once verified, mark the Picture ID Verified box on the Custody and Control Form.
B. Record the donor’s ID number. This may be the Social Security number, Driver’s License number, Medical Record number, Employee number or any other number of your facilities choosing.
C. Record the donor’s name (optional).
D. Mark the specimen matrix and location.
E. Mark the appropriate reason for testing.
F. Mark the panel ordered for this collection.
G. Record the Collection Site Facility information if it is different than the Account Information at the top of the form.
Open the collection supplies
Open the collection supplies in the presence of the donor.
Fold each side of the collection foil up to form a tray
Fold each side of the collection foil up to form a tray and open the envelope so the printed ruler is visible.
Clipping the hair
Clipping the hair:
The ideal site for collection is at the top of the back of the head, called the crown or vertex area. Collector should use gloves throughout the collection.

For Hair Longer than 1.5 inches:
A. Isolate a section of hair above the area to be sampled, and secure it with a hair clip. Using a rat-tail comb, select a section of hair to be clipped with cutting shears at scalp level. If the client has thin hair, multiple sites may be used.

B. Clip the hair and place it on the envelope near the printed ruler with the root end to the left. Using the ruler, cut the hair to 1.5 inches in length, keeping the 1.5 inches closest to the root end. Discard the rest of the hair. Place the hair in the foil tray. Continue collection until you have 100mg/150mg of specimen. If you are not using a gem scale to weigh the specimen (recommended), you do not need to trim the hair to 1.5". Instead, fold the foil in half and place the root end of the untrimmed hair toward the end of the foil marked root end.

For Hair Shorter than 1.5 inches:
C. Collect smaller amounts of hair from multiple sites around the head. Place the hair in the foil tray. Continue collection until you have 100mg/150mg of specimen.
Fold the foil inward several times
Once the required amount of specimen has been collected, fold the foil inward several times to secure the hair inside the foil and place it inside the collection envelope. Note: Body hair is an acceptable alternative when scalp hair is not available. The same instructions apply to collecting body hair. Clip as close to the root as safely possible and place in the foil tray. Once 100mg/150mg is collected, fold the foil inward to secure the hair inside the foil. DO NOT mix body hair and head hair.
Write the Donor ID
Write the Donor ID from the Custody and Control Form on the envelope in the Test Subject ID section.
Place the long bar-coded specimen seal
Place the long bar-coded specimen seal from the Custody and Control form across the bottom of the envelope. Make sure the sticker seals the flap of the envelope securely.
Have the donor/guardian read and initial
Have the donor/guardian read and initial the first sentence on the envelope, and then date and initial the bar-coded specimen seal next to Subject Initials.
The collector should then read, date, and sign
The collector should then read, date, and sign the second sentence of the envelope, and record the specimen weight, if available.
The donor/guardian and collector should both confirm
The donor/guardian and collector should both confirm that the Test Subject ID Number on the envelope matches the Donor ID number on the Custody and Control Form, and that the Control Number from the bar-coded sticker on the envelope matches the Control Number at the top of the Custody and Control Form.
Date, sign, and print
Date, sign, and print the collector name on Step 4 of the Custody and Control Form.
Have the donor/guardian date, sign, and print
Have the donor/guardian date, sign, and print their name on Step 5 of the Custody and Control Form (optional).
In the presence of the donor/guardian, place the top copy
In the presence of the donor/guardian, place the top copy of the Custody and Control Form inside the outer pocket of the security bag. Place the specimen envelope inside the inner pocket of the security bag and seal the bag. The additional copies of the Custody and Control Form can be distributed at the discretion of the collecting facility.
Place the specimen envelope in an appropriate courier transport overwrap
Place the specimen envelope in an appropriate courier transport overwrap and contact your courier for pick-up.
Client Services

By Phone: 1.800.235.2367

Business Hours (CST)

Monday 6am - 8pm
Tuesday 6am - 8pm
Wednesday 6am - 8pm
Thursday 6am - 8pm
Friday 6am - 8pm
Saturday 8am - 5pm

Contact Client Services

Testing Details

Panel Name: HairTesting

Panel Description: Hair Testing Drug Panel

Type: Profile

Matrix: Hair

Collection Container: Foil in Secure Envelope

Sample Amount: 100 mg = 200 strands @ 1.5 inches     (We recommend weighing the specimen on a jeweler's scale.)

Storage Conditions: Room Temperature

Transport Conditions: Ambient

Method: Initial screen and confirmation

Turnaround Time: Generally, the standard turnaround time for reporting negative screening test results is the next business day, with an additional 1-2 business days for specimens that require confirmatory testing. Turnaround time begins from receipt of the valid specimen –accompanied by a properly documented valid order– into the laboratory. Some tests require additional time to process and will fall outside the standard turnaround time window.

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Can a hair test be manipulated by the donor?

Yes. Bleaching, perming, dyeing and straightening can affect the outcome of a hair test. Cosmetically treated hair should not be collected.

Can a hair test be used to prove that a previously taken urine test was inaccurate?

No. The results of any second collected specimen have absolutely no bearing on the validity of the results of the first collected specimen. Furthermore, each matrix has its own advantages, disadvantages and limits of interpretation.

Can a hair test determine how much or how often someone is using a drug?

No. Hair is a reservoir matrix, where drugs can collect and/or degrade over time. When testing any reservoir matrix, you are unable to back-track and determine time, dosage or frequency because there are simply too many variables involved.

Can someone test positive in hair because of passive or environmental exposure?

Yes, drugs are incorporated into hair by three major routes: environmental exposure, sweat and sebum from the scalp and blood flow through the follicle. Environmental exposure however will only generate a positive for the parent drug. Example: methamphetamine only. The other two mechanisms lay down drug and drug metabolites. Example: amphetamine/methamphetamine positive.

Does race make a difference in hair testing results?

Hair color, not race, is one of the most important variables in determining the quantity of drug found in the hair. Dark hair binds drug tighter than light hair.

How long can drugs be detected in body hair?

Body hair has a different growth cycle compared to head hair. Body hair may go dormant and remain in place up to one year. A positive result reflects exposure up to 12 months.

How long can drugs be detected in head hair?

Once a drug is incorporated into hair, it begins to slowly leach out due to normal daily hygiene and exposure to the elements. Most drugs have disappeared by three months. Furthermore, the laboratory only analyzes the first 1.5 inches (3.9 centimeters) nearest the scalp. Hair grows at an average rate of 0.5 inches per month.

May the reported quantitation of drug or metabolite in hair, nail, meconium, umbilical cord, or urine be used to determine the timing of the drug use, how often the donor uses the drug, or the extent of the donor’s drug use?

No. When testing a reservoir specimen type, a specimen type where analytes tend to accumulate, you may not backtrack to determine time, dosage, or frequency. The result is positive or negative for the appropriate detection window associated with the specimen type.

Q: Why are both ethyl sulfate (EtS) and ethyl glucuronide (EtG) included in urine testing for alcohol use, but only EtG in fingernail or hair testing?

A: For urine testing, it is standard practice in the field of toxicology to include both EtS and EtG, because EtG is subject to bacterial production and degradation if a urine sample is contaminated (e.g. when the donor has a urinary tract infection). EtS is not subject to bacterial production or degradation, and provides a second, more reliable alcohol biomarker in these urine contamination scenarios. Other specimens types, such as fingernails and hair, do not have this issue, so only EtG is measured in those sample types.

What does a positive hair test result mean?

The only interpretation that can come from a positive hair test is that the individual used or was exposed to drug during the three months prior to collection.

Why do we test for EtG in hair and not FAEE?

FAEE is less sensitive and can produce false positives. Hairspray and other hair products can produce FAEEs in hair. There is no enzyme in our hair that can create ETG from those products.

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