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Hair Drug Testing

Collect your sample in less than 1 minute

All testing is performed using the two stage GOLD standard LC/MS/MS quantitative test



VIAMEDEX lead scientists are members of the Society of Hair Testing. Our extensive knowledge and adherence to proper protocols and procedures makes our test results reliable and legally defensible. Our laboratory performs proficiency testing in order to ensure the highest standards of testing.

You will receive a clinically precise record of the average daily level of ingestion over a 90 day period

Drugs we test for:

A 5 panel drug package (methamphetamine, Benzodiazepines, Cannabis, Cocaine and Amphetamines) is $135

$25 for each additional drug tested

Clinically precise alcohol ingestion test for $135

Results in 7 days

Principles of Hair Drug Testing

The metabolites of chronic drug use, Illicit and repetitive is incorporated into hair for a period of about 90 days.

The metabolites of chronic drug use, Illicit and repetitive is incorporated into hair for a period of about 90 days.

The presence of drugs in hair is based on a simple principle. Drugs which are ingested circulate in the bloodstream which nourishes developing hair follicles. As a result, trace amounts of the target drug or drug metabolite are deposited in the hair follicle and become entrapped in the core of the hair shaft as it grows out from the hair follicle. Normal growth rates for human hair are approximately one-half inch per month. By testing for the presence of drugs in the hair shaft core on a given length of hair, a historical record of past drug usage can be constructed. Since target drug or drug metabolite residues are chemically and structurally stable for an extended period of time within the hair shaft core, they cannot be externally washed, bleached, chemically treated or flushed out of the hair structure. Consequently there is little possibility of sample contamination or manipulation. For this reason many courts and legal entities have chosen a forensic hair drug test as the preferred method of drug testing. Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) forensic laboratory analysis of the hair shaft from an individual can achieve highly accurate drug test results and provide a historical use record. Generally it takes approximately 5 days for drugs to show up in a person's hair and they will continue to be detectable in the hair for several months.

Hair Drug Testing-Alcohol Testing and the Physiological Role of Hair

Hair is a remarkable medium for recording drug and alcohol abuse but the functional characteristics of hair and its role as a sample source are very complex. Hair is an annex of skin. It originates from hair follicles in which the germination center is formed by active matrix cells. These cells give rise to the different layers of the hair shaft-cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The hair follicle cells are in constant active proliferation but in the shaft there is virtually no metabolic activity.The hair follicle, located about 4mm below the surface of the skin is supplied by a capillary blood system, and surrounded by three types of glands which literally bathe each follicle and appear on the skin surface as sweat.Hair grows in three distinct cycles, an active phase (anagen), transitional phase (catgen), and resting phase (telogen). Scalp hair grows an average of about 10mm (slightly less then a half inch) per month, but there are significant differences in the growth rate of hair from various anatomical parts of the body and growth rate might be effected genetics, age, sex, health, etc. Drugs and various metabolites including those of alcohol, enter the hair shaft by passive diffusion from the capillaries surrounding the follicle as well as diffusion from the sweat glands and deep skin compartments. The quantitative rates of incorporation of these substances has been extensively documented allowing for the physiochemical properties of the substances and the polarity of drugs and metabolites. Hair can be collected from anywhere on the body but the preferred location is the posterior vertex of the scalp. Ideally about 200 mg of hair is used either in total as a composite test or segmented into a sequence of lengths for yielding a chronological level of use based on 30 day increments. The original hair sample is always washed with a variety of solvents to remove possible external contaminates then dried and powdered. The powdered sample is weighed and subjected to extraction and analysis. Hair samples are increasingly used for the detection of chronic drug and alcohol abuse because the results are specific and precisely stated in picograms or nanograms per milligrams of sample. Urine and saliva testing remain useful tools for immediate evaluation, but generally are accurate for a period not exceeding 72 hours of ingestion.


Hair drugs of abuse testing offers a long term window for detection of drug use prior to the test date and a convenient collection process that can be performed almost anywhere.

Specimen Collection

The collector obtains a 100 milligram sample of hair (90 to 120 strands) cut at the scalp and completes chain-of-custody documentation., the process minimizes the likelihood of sample adulteration or specimen substitution VIAMEDEX offers hair specimen collections across the Australia.

Testing Process

VIAMEDEX performs an initial screening test by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with confirmation of presumptive positive screens by gas chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS) or liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). Results for specimens that screen negative for all drugs are generally available within 48-72 hours after specimens are received at the laboratory. Results for confirmation testing of presumptive positive screens are usually available within an additional 72 hours.


Q: What is hair drug testing?

Drug and drug metabolite(s) are incorporated into the hair matrix from the bloodstream following drug use. Hair drug testing detects drugs that are embedded in the hair.

Q: How much hair is needed for a hair drug test?

A hair drug test with initial screen and confirmation requires 100 milligrams of hair (90 to 120 strands).

Q: What time period does a hair drug test cover?

Hair growth rates vary; typically, head hair grows at an average of one-half inch per month. Therefore, a 1.5 inch hair sample detects drug use up to 90 days prior to testing.

Q: How does the drug detection window for hair compare to urine and oral fluid?

Drug detection times vary depending on the dose, sensitivity of the testing method used, preparation and route of administration, duration of use (acute or chronic), the matrix that is analyzed, the molecule or metabolite that is looked for, the pH and concentration of the matrix (urine, oral fluid), and variations in metabolic and renal clearance. In general, the detection time is longest in hair, followed by urine and oral fluid.2 Drugs in hair may be detectable for approximately 90 days, whereas drugs in urine are generally detectable for one to seven days or longer in chronic users and in oral fluid from five to 48 hours

Q: How soon after use can a drug be detected in hair?

Drug (and/or metabolite) can be detected approximately seven to 10 days from the time of drug use. This is the time in which the affected hair grows from the follicle to emerge above the scalp.

Q: How can tests be run on people with little or no hair?

Hair may be collected from several head locations and combined to obtain the required amount of hair. If no head hair is collectable body hair or finger and toe nails can be used

Q: Can hair collected from a brush be used?

Yes, but there will not be a legal chain of custody

Q: When testing for drugs, what are the differences between hair testing cut-off levels and urine testing cut-off levels?

Urine cut-off levels are expressed in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or as a weight of drug per unit volume of urine. Hair cut-off levels are expressed in picograms per milligram (pg/mg) or as a weight of drug per unit weight of hair.

Q: How does the laboratory address external exposure to certain drugs like marijuana or crack (cocaine) smoke?

While washing the hair sample may remove some of the contamination, ultimately external exposure can be differentiated from actual use because of the presence of the drug metabolite, which is not present when environmental contamination is the source of the drug.
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