Hair testing is a powerful tool for detecting drug and alcohol use over time

Everything consumed into our bodily systems contains chemicals that find their way into a person’s blood. Once in the blood they produce metabolites that we can detect via urine, oral fluid or hair testing. In the case of hair testing, the metabolites enter the hair through the hair follicles.


At Cansford Labs, we provide hair and oral fluid testing for drugs and alcohol abuse. Which test you select should be chosen based on the time and duration of drug and alcohol use to be detected.

  • Hair testing offers the widest window for detection and is best for detecting long term use and trends
  • Oral fluid (saliva) offers the first sign of drugs after use. Most drugs are detectable for up to 6 hours, and some will remain for up to one day.
  • Urine will show signs after half a day – remaining for 3-8 days depending on the type of drug that’s been used.

Accuracy is another consideration. For hair and oral tests, we use a two-part LC-MS/MS process; Liquid Chromatography with Mass Spectrometry. It’s accredited by UKAS per ISO 17025 andsuperior to the immunoassay method; an immunochemical test which only indicates the presence of a substance in a sample.

The process by which the hair sample is taken is also important. Samples are best taken by an expert – we can provide one for you – as it is important to gather information about the hair sample and the circumstances of collection. Several factors including use of medication, hair colour, bleaching and ambient exposure can affect the results.

To help plan and organise for a hair or oral fluids drug or alcohol test, we’ve created a simple checklist to guide you through every step. Download the Checklist Now

For more information, complete enquiry form on this page or call us now on +44 (0)29 2054 0567