Hair Strand Drug Testing

The FTS testing service gives you accurate, legally defensible drug analysis using the sample and drug profile to provide the exact information you require. Using our depth of experience in the field of hair strand drug testing, we offer end to end solutions for all our clients to ensure that our service is designed around your requirements.

Quality - FTS are accredited to the International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 by UKAS.

Speed - Within 10 days from sample collection, we target your filing and court dates.

Communication - Updates throughout the process, so no unforeseen delays.

Clear reports - Results in context in easy to understand reports for you and the courts.

No prior authority required - We can complete the collection whilst you seek LAA authority.

No initial cost risk - If the LAA authority is not forthcoming then there will be no cost to you.

UK based lab - Advice available via customer service, lab team or experts about your case.

About our testing

Hair Strand Testing

Testing hair strands for drugs, commonly known as hair strand analysis can provide a detailed history of drug use looking back from approximately one week before the hair sample was taken, up to the previous twelve months, assuming sufficient hair length is available for analysis.

Head hair grows at a predictable rate of about 1 cm per month so a history of drug use builds up over time, only a small number of hair strands are required cut close to the scalp.


The scalp hair can be segmented, each centimetre of hair provides information on a window of approximately one month providing an understanding of the historical pattern of drug use.

If you do not segment you will get a result of Yes or No on whether the donor has used drugs in the testing period, this can include some potential carry over from the period prior to the testing period as significant usage stays in the system for some time.

If you segment the hair we can differentiate between carry over from the period prior to testing period, small usage, one off usage and regular usage.

Why use segmentation

Test case - If a donor has stated they have stopped using drugs prior to the hair strand testing period their can still be carry over into the testing period, drugs carry over and small usage are hard to differentiate between.

It is therefore possible to get a positive result on a standard 3 month test if there has been significant drug usage prior to the testing period and abstinence has been adhered to during the testing period.

If in this case we segmented the hair sample into 3 x 1 month periods we could show for example the dissipation through the testing period and highlight no usage most recently, thus confirming the donors statement.

Body Hair Drug Testing

If you require a hair strand drug test and a donor has no scalp hair FTS can still provide testing on the donors’ body hair, which will provide approximately 6-9 months history commencing around 3 weeks prior to collection.

Urine and Oral Fluid Testing

Urine or oral fluid analysis is able to provide information on drug use for up to the previous 3 to 6 days. Combined with a hair test this ensures you have a complete picture of drug use. Oral fluid is difficult to cheat and can be more acceptable for the donor.

Which Tests to use?

Please note: Specific advice can be provided on a case by case basis if required.

This correct test is dependent on the circumstances and what type of evidence is required. If you are not sure and need to prove complete drug abstinence for most commonly abused drugs over the past 6 months then a hair sample, of 6 cm minimum length, should be tested for all the routine drugs listed.

Additionally a urine or oral fluid test can be requested to ensure there hasn’t been a recent relapse.

If less than 6 cm of hair is available, the hair test should be carried out monthly to cover the desired period and urine or oral fluid test carried out with the last hair test.

If there is a good and reliable drug use history available then the drugs tested can be more selective. It is however common for a drug user to use different drugs or combination of drugs.

Drug use declarations may be deliberately or inadvertently inaccurate. It is therefore advisable to select the declared drug or drugs and add the other most commonly abused drugs. Currently the commonly abused drugs are Amphetamine, Opiates, Cocaine, Cannabis and Ecstasy.

If you would like more information about our hair strand drug testing services, please call 0845 519 6472

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