Hair Analysis for Alcohol (Ethyl Alcohol) 
and Drugs

Hair analysis for drugs offers an alternative to the drugs of abuse analysis in urine sample. Over the past two years, the popularity of hair analysis for drugs has risen significantly, especially for pre-employment drug testing. This is due in large part to hair's outstanding immunity to alterations and longer detection times for drugs.

Hair - an excellent specimen

Because hair grows on average length of 1.0 - 1.5 cm (slightly less than 1.0 inch) per month, drugs can be detected depending on the length of hair (see Figure 1). To put it simply, 1.0 cm of hair = 1 month detection time for drug(s). This is useful especially if drugs were suspected of being used or abused at a longer period of time. 
See Table 1.

Figure 1 Hair detection period with varying hair length.  Drug detection period is proportional to hair length .


Table 1. Comparison of Hair vs. Urine (by Immunoassay) for
Drugs of Abuse Screen

  Hair Urine
Re analyzation can be recollected anytime. Same drugs can be recovered could be a problem if sample volume is limited
Volume 0.5 - 1.0 grams 30 ml min
Invasiveness Less High
Contamination < 10 % > 35 % - affected by biological activity
Accuracy 0% False positive and negative results as much as 40%
Hair length dependent.
1 cm (< 1/2 in) of hair = 1 month detection time.
1-5 days depending on type of drug and on Individual basis

Drugs Analyzed in Hair and Fees

Single Drug

Item #


Alcohol (Ethyl Alcohol) HA HETOH79 $475.00
Amphetamines HA HAmp58 $319.00 
Barbiturates HA HBarb168 $325.50
Benzodiazepines  HA HBDZ242 $385.50
Cannabinoids  HA HTHC371 $475.00
Cocaine  HA HCOC182 $525.00
Ecstasy  HA HMDA57 $425.00
Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) HFLU312 $595.00
Gammahydroxybutyrate(GHB) HGHB147 $625.00
Methadone  HA HMED72 $415.50
Opiates  HA HM3G185 $525.50
Phencyclidine (PCP)  HA HPCP95 $395.00

Multiple Drug Test

Item # Fee
5 Panel DAU  HA
(any drugs from above list)
HDAU05 12 % discount
7 Panel DAU  HA
(Amphetamines, Benzodiazepines, Cannabinoids, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Opiates, PCP
HDAU07 16 % discount
 12 Panel DAU  HA
(all 12 drugs from above list)
HDAU12 20 % discount
"Date Rape" Drug Screen - 5 Panel (Ecstasy, Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine, LSD)   HDAUDR5  $2500.00

Hair Specimen Collection Procedure

First, determine how far back in time (months) you like to know drug use or abuse.  Remember 1.0 cm or slightly less than 1/2 in. is equal to 1 month detection time.  Once you have decided in the time frame for drug detection, you can proceed with collecting the hair sample.  To do this, grab several strands (50-80) of hair on the scalp.    The number of strands of hair vary depending on the number of drug(s) that need analyzed.  In general, 50-80 strands of hair is ideal for 1-3 drug(s) analysis.  If you are not certain as to whether or not the hair volume is enough to do the analysis, please call our lab at 614-459-2307 or e-mail staydrugfree@toxassociates.com.   Cut the hair with a scissors as close to the scalp as possible.  It is not necessary to pull the hair out.  Wrap a rubber band or a tape around the hair, whose end is closes to the scalp.   Place the hair in a labeled container, and submit the specimen along with a completely filled Chain of Custody/Drug Consent Release Form to our laboratory.

Other Areas in the Body Where Hair can be collected

If head hair is not available or insufficient length to determine drug use on a certain period of time, hair can be collected somewhere else in the body.  These include armpit, eyebrow, facial, etc.  Note that various sites of hair growth in the body will have varying growth rate.  Table 2 shows different areas of the body that hair grows with its corresponding growth rate.

Table 2
Area of Body Growth Rate (Daily) Growth Rate (Monthly) Equivalent Time of Detection per month
Coarse Body Hair 0.27(mm/day) 8.10 mm or 0.81 cm 1.0
Eye Brows 0.15(mm/day) 4.5 mm or 0.45 cm 1.0
Mustache (Beards, Whiskers) 0.40(mm/day) 12 mm or 0.12 cm 1.0
Pubic 0.20(mm/day) 6.0 mm  or 0.60 cm 1.0
Head Hair 0.33 (mm/day) 10 mm or 1.0 cm 1.0
Armpit 0.30(mm/day) 9.0 mm or 0.9 cm 1.0

As an example, if the required time of detection period is 6.0 months and the head hair is only 4.0 cm that is equivalent to approximately 4.0 months of drug detection period.  However, if the same length of hair is obtained from other area of the body such as the pubic region, drug detection period would be roughly 6.7 months (4.0 cm  x 1.0 month/0.60 cm).

Turn-Around Time

5-14 business days upon arrival of specimen in our lab.   Time variations depend on     the number or drug analysis requested.

Reporting of Lab Results

Confidentially, results will only be reported to the authorized individual.  Please indicate how you would like us to report the results (verbal, faxed, and/or written mailed report).



Copyright 1999 [Toxicology Associates, Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 13, 2010