Head Hair Drug Testing
What is head hair drug testing and how is it performed?
Unlike urine testing, head hair drug testing is unique in that it can show a longer history of drug use. A typical head hair test will show a history of drug use up to 90 days depending on the length of the hair. A single strand of hair cannot be tested; the amount of hair that needs to be collected must be approximately the thickness of a pencil (about 120 strands of hair).
The donor's hair must be a minimum of ½ inch long for a head hair test. A standard hair test will only test the first 1½ inches of hair. The hair is cut as close as possible to the scalp. Donors with longer hair can be tested as far back as one year provided the hair is long enough. This is called segmented hair testing.
Who should choose head hair drug testing?
Head hair drug testing is typically performed when a history of use is in question or if there is concern that use happened in the recent past.
Head hair drug testing has been used successfully in legal proceedings.
Who should choose segmented head hair drug testing?
Segmented head hair drug testing is performed when a more detailed history of use is required or if verification that drug use has increased, slowed or stopped over time. You will receive a result for each segment of hair tested.
Segmented head hair drug testing requires that the donor's hair be at least 2 inches in length. If a donor is not able to provide enough of a hair sample for segmentation, repeated non-segmented head hair tests may be an option. Typically, body hair or nail testing will not provide the same information as a segmented head hair test.
How we can help.
We can provide confidential and court defensible head hair drug testing services to concerned parents, attorneys, governments, corporations and private individuals. Results can be released to multiple individuals if necessary and in some cases can even be performed anonymously.
In situations where donors are living in other states or even overseas, we can coordinate the collection of their samples where each donor resides.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an appointment for a hair test?
Appointments are suggested but not required.
How long will the collection take?
Hair collections take approximately 15 minutes.
What is a testing panel, and how do I know which one to pick?
A testing panel is simply a drug or a class of drugs that should be tested for. The best option for help selecting a panel is to call us at (636) 916-0050. If you prefer, you can view a list of the most common hair testing panels in our online reference library.Learn more »
How long before I get my results?
Results are typically available in 5 to 10 business days.
Can I test a hair sample I collected myself?
Yes. If you are in the Saint Louis area, you may bring the sample directly to our office for testing. If you are outside of the Saint Louis area, please call (636) 916-0050 for shipping details and instructions.
Information for Donors
Prior to setting up your test
Make sure to have all necessary information before setting up your test.
In some cases, testing may already be set up. To check if testing has already been set up for you, call us at (636) 916-0050.
If testing hasn't been set up already, it will need to be set up before any appointments or specimen collections can be made. To make the set up process quick and accurate, make sure that you have all of the necessary information first.
To set up your test you will need:
- The type of test, segmented or non-segmented, to be performed
- The test panel to be performed or a complete list of drugs that should be tested for (trade names such as Adderall are acceptable for prescription drugs)
- If any legal order of protections or restraining orders are in place between any other donors (if known)
- If a court has issued an order requiring the test
If you do not have all of the information, or are unsure about the information that you do have, please let us know this when setting up your test.
Setting up your test
Setting up your test is quick and can be done over the phone.
To set up your test, call us at (636) 916-0050. When you set up your test, you will be asked to provide some basic information about yourself and the donors.
Payment arrangements are also made at this time if another individual is responsible for payment. Payment arrangements must be completed before any collections can be scheduled or performed. For your convenience, we accept Visa or MasterCard over the phone.
Scheduling your collection
Appointments are suggested but not required.
Call (636) 916-0050 to schedule your collection appointment time or to make changes to your existing appointment.
When calling to schedule your collection appointment, make sure you have all of the necessary information to make the process quick and accurate.
To schedule an appointment, you will need to provide:
- Your name
- Your telephone number
- If any legal order of protections or restraining orders are in place between you and any other donors
- If you are scheduling an appointment for a minor:
- Name of minor
- Age of minor
- If parent or guardian will not be at the facility at the time of the minor's test collection, prior written permission authorizing the collection must be in place.
- The date and time that you prefer
When choosing an appointment time, please keep in mind that the collection process takes about 15 minutes.
We will make every effort to schedule your appointment for the date and time you prefer, but in some cases the appointment time may not be available.
Providing your specimen
Appointments are suggested but not required.
Payment is required at this time unless arrangements have already been made. Prior to arriving for your appointment, please be sure to bring with you:
- A valid (not expired) government issued photo ID
Acceptable IDs include (copies or faxes are not accepted):
- Driver's License
- Non-Driver License (state ID)
- Military ID
- A copy of any court orders if the testing is ordered by a court
- A list of all names and their associated addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses you wish for us to release the results to
If you will be bringing a minor for a collection, you will also need to bring:
- A photo ID of the minor (if available)
- If you are a social worker for the state and you will be authorizing testing for the minor, you will need to bring proof of guardianship or the court order for testing that specifically lists you as having the authority to authorize testing for the minor
- Proof of guardianship if any of the following are true:
- Your name does not appear on the minor's birth certificate
- Your last name differs from the minor's last name and no birth certificate showing your name is presented
- You are a relative of the minor
- You are a family friend of the minor
Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time to check-in and complete the necessary paperwork.
The collection process will take about 15 minutes.
Discussing your results with the doctor
Some results may require a doctor to contact you prior to releasing the final result.
In some cases where a donor is taking a legitimate prescription drug, a false-positive may occur. Instead of releasing the result as positive, a special medical review officer (MRO) will contact you to discuss your result. You should take this opportunity to provide any prescription medication information to the doctor that may explain a positive result.
At the end of the conversation, the doctor should be able to provide you with their final determination and will then release the results for reporting.
If any positive results are explained by valid prescription use, the final result will show "Negative" for that drug instead of positive. If no prescription information is provided, or the prescription provided would not have affected the result, the final result will still show "Positive" for that drug.
You will not need to worry about contacting the doctor directly. If there are any questions about your test, the doctor will contact you first.
If you miss the doctor's call, or are unable to discuss the information with the doctor when they call, they will leave a call back number on any voice-mail or answering machine service. It is important that you call the doctor back as soon as possible. If you fail to return the doctor's call within 72 hours, the doctor may release the result without giving you the opportunity to provide any information.
Obtaining your results
Test results are normally available 5 to 10 business days after collection.
Telephone, email and fax results are typically available 5 days after the specimen is collected. A mailed test result is provided and typically arrives in the mail 7 to 10 days after the specimen is collected. Results can also be picked-up at the Saint Charles office location.
For help interpreting your results after you receive them, please call (636) 916-0050 and one of our staff would be happy to discuss your result with you.
Drug testing can be embarrassing to discuss. We understand.
Normally drug testing is performed for reasons that can be embarrassing. Simply knowing that you need to take a test, or that you need to have someone test, can be stressful before you even pick up the phone to call for information. After providing your sample you have the added anxiety of waiting for the test result to come back. We understand that you will have questions and concerns. We want you to know that we will be here each step of the way to help you, even after the test results are back. If you have any questions about the testing process, help interpreting your results or would like information on where substance abuse treatment can be obtained, please give us a call.