Hair Follicle Testing

Hair Testing for a 90-Day Drug Use History

Hair Follicle Testing for drugs is the one of the only ways to get an in depth assessment of up to 90 days or longer in the past to determine if someone has been using drugs. This is a great test for an employer or parent.

Simple specimen collection and highly accurate results that meet the same reference standards as urine testing. In addition, there are no known methods for sample adulteration (hair washing will not dilute the sample). Because specimen collection can be directly observed, the risk of adulteration is even further reduced.

Hair testing is the most accurate and effective method of identifying users of drugs of abuse.  Using a small sample of hair cut at the scalp, hair analysis evaluates the amount of drug metabolites embedded inside the hair shaft. Each 1/2 inch of hair provides a 30-day history of drug use.  The standard test length (1.5) inches provides a 90 day history.  Body hair can be used and will be reported as drug usage during approximately a one year time frame.  Courts nationwide have upheld Hair Testing in civil and criminal cases.

We get the results back to you quicker: Negative results are reported within 24-48 hours of receipt at the laboratory, and positive results are confirmed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) or gas chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS) within 72 to 96 hours. Hair testing is also forensically defensible.

When compared with urine specimen testing, hair testing provides up to 2.5 times the number of positives and a longer detection window. Hair testing can test for the following classes of drugs:


  • Amphetamines (including Ecstasy)
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Extended Opiate Screen which includes: Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and Oxycodone (Percocet)


The following additions can be made to a 5-panel test

Added in a 7-panel Hair Test: Benzodiazepine & Barbiturates

Added in a 9-panel Hair Test: Methadone & Propoxyphene

Added in a 12-panel Hair test: Meperidine (Demerol), Tramadol and Oxycodone

Added in a 14-panel Hair Test: Fentanyl & Sufentanil

Added in a 15-panel Hair Test: Ketamine

Please call us at 505-298-2200 for information on this test.


Hair Testing FAQ’s

  1. How effective is hair testing in detecting drug users?  Clients regularly report finding five times as many users compared to laboratory based urine testing programs.
  2. What time period does hair testing cover?  The typical length of head hair tested is 1.5 inches from the root end.  Since the average growth of human head hair is approximately 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) per month a hair analysis covers an approximate 90 day time frame.  This time frame is an approximation only since an individual’s actual hair growth rate may vary from the average.  The test can go back further to 6 months, 9 months or a year, depending on the length of hair.  Body hair can be used and has a longer time frame.
  3. Does Body hair give the same type of results as head hair?  Body hair can be used for testing.  However, while body hair is generally acknowledged as representing a more distant time frame than head hair, the approximate time period could go back to 12 months.
  4. How soon after use can a drug be detected in hair?  It takes approximately 5-10 days from the time of drug use for the hair containing drugs to grow above the scalp where it can be collected.
  5. What methodology do you employ?  Hair samples are first screened at laboratory using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) methodology, which has been proven reliable for routine drug testing.  Any samples that test presumptively positive in the screening process are then subjected to gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), gas chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS), or liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) confirmation testing.
  6. How are cut off levels established?  The cut-off levels generally accepted industry wide are similar to the cut-off levels in the 2004 proposed Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) guidelines.
  7. How long are excess hair and test reports saved?  Any hair remaining after initial testing is completed is retained for a one year period.  Test results are retained for a period of two years.
  8. Does the Laboratory wash the hair prior to analysis?  All hair specimens are washed prior to confirmation testing to remove possible external contamination.  The wash procedures were reviewed by the FDA as part of our 510(k) clearances.
  9. Can external exposure to drugs (marijuana smoke, crack smoke, etc.) have an effect on the hair test results?  Along with a wash procedure, the lab looks for both the parent  drug and metabolite (THC-COOH).  This metabolite is only produced by the body and cannot be an environmental contaminant.
  10. Can a hair test be beaten/adulterated?  At this time there are no known successful commercial adulterants for hair tests and the recommended use of normal hair care products/procedures (shampoos, dyes, permanents, relaxers, bleaches) do not have a significant effect on results.
  11. Does hair color effect results?  Hair color is determined by the amount of melanin in the hair.  It has been shown experimentally, through actual hair samples, as well as determined in court that hair color has no significant impact on results.
  12. Can hair collected from a brush be used?  Yes, but the test will be reported as having an “anonymous” donor.  We cannot attribute the sample to any specific person and we cannot determine the time frame of the test, so the test result is not legally defensible.

Hair Testing has been proven as acceptable evidence in Court systems throughout the U.S. and worldwide.  Hair testing is currently used as evidence in criminal, civil and military courts and has passed the admissibility of expert testimony known as the Frye Rule, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Daubert Rule.

Call us for prices and to set up an appointment.