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Hair Drug Testing

Hair Strand Drug Testing

Cellmark’s ISO 17025 accredited hair drug testing and alcohol testing service provides rapid, reliable scientific analysis which is clearly reported and simply explained. We are also one of the largest suppliers of forensic analysis to the police and the UK’s leading DNA paternity tester with 30 years’ experience of delivering market leading scientific testing to the general public, the legal community and the courts.

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Hair Drug Testing

What is Hair Drug testing?

Testing hair samples is a non-invasive method of providing evidence of an individual's history of dug or alcohol use. It can provide a record over a longer period of time (months rather than days) than any other sample type such as blood, urine or oral fluid.

Hair is fed by a blood supply so substances that are circulating in the bloodstream can become incorporated into the growing hair. Hair can also incorporate drugs and other substances from sweat or sebum (an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands that helps to prevent hair and skin from drying out) or from environmental exposure to smoke or vapour.

How do I arrange testing and sampling?

Cellmark's accredited Hair Drug and Alcohol testing service is simple to understand, easy to organise and delivers comprehensive results.

  You can obtain a hair drug testing quote and register your hair drug testing case using our online registration service or by calling Cellmark's dedicated Customer Services team on 0800 036 2522.

  We will arrange a hair sampling appointment for you or your client with one of our professional mobile samplers at a location and time that is convenient.

  The hair sample(s) and paperwork will then be sent to Cellmark's accredited laboratory for testing.

  Within 3-5 working days the test report will be despatched to you by email or first class post.

Simple yet comprehensive


When you register a Hair Drug testing case you will need to select the drugs you want Cellmark to test for

Cellmark tests for more than 25 common ‘drugs of abuse’ and drug metabolites (breakdown products) which can be selected as the following 10 drugs and drug groups. Simply select one, two or even three named drugs/drug groups from the list if that is all you need, but if you don’t know which drugs could have been taken, or if you need to test for more than three named drugs then we will run and report our entire panel, which then becomes the most economic option.

  • Amphetamine and methamphetamines - including MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Benzodiazepines - including diazepam, desmethyldiazepam (nordiazepam), temazepam, oxazepam and chlordiazepoxide
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine - including markers to indicate the use of ‘crack’ cocaine and the concurrent use of cocaine and alcohol
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • Mephedrone
  • Methadone
  • Opiates – including morphine, codeine, dihydrocodeine, heroin and markers of heroin use
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Our Hair Drug testing service is designed to comply with the legal aid funding guidelines.


You will also need to select the period of time you want to be analysed

Head hair grows at an average rate of approximately one centimetre (cm) per month with a range of between approximately 0.7 and 1.5cm per month. At Cellmark we assume a growth rate of 1cm per month for our calculations when determining a history of use.

You can ask us to analyse either a single section of head hair, or multiple ‘sections’. A single section provides an overview for that period of time and can be between 1 and 3cm (ie one, two or three month periods) to demonstrate patterns of drug use or abstinence over a period of time. The number of sections that can be tested will be dependent upon the length of sample available.

Hair Drug testing prices

Price A

1 drug/drug group

Price B

2 drugs/drug groups

Price C

3 drugs/drug groups

Price D

All 10 drugs/drug groups

For example our price for a single drug e.g. Cannabis, for a 3 month overview, including sampling is £174 (+VAT). Use our Quote@Court facility to check other options. We can also give you an immediate quote over the telephone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

It is estimated to take approximately 5-7 days from the time of drug use or exposure for head hair containing the drug markers to grow above the scalp and be available for cutting and analysis. It is recommended to wait at least three to four weeks following the suspected use of a drug before collection of a sample so that the period of use/exposure is included in the collected sample.

Does body hair give the same type of results as head hair?

Body hair has a similar rate of growth as head hair, with a range of between approximately 0.9 and 1.1cm per month, but it has a different pattern of growth and resting phases. It has been estimated that body hair has a much higher proportion, approximately 40% - 60%, in the resting phase compared to only 10% - 15% for head hair.

As a consequence body hair samples are not divided into sections for analysis and any use of or exposure to a detected drug may have been in the weeks prior to the sample collection or many months earlier than this.

How much hair is required?

For an accurate test we require a sample which is the approximate diameter of a standard drinking straw. This amount of hair is unlikely to give any considerable cosmetic concern to the donor.

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Useful links

From ensuring that you have the right information before commencing the process of Hair Drug testing to understanding what the final test report means - we aim to provide assistance every step of the way.