Nail Drug Testing
What is nail drug testing and how is it performed?
Similar to body hair drug testing, nail testing can only show a history of drug use. Fingernail samples generally provide use history up to 6 months and toenail samples can provide a use history up to a year.
Nail samples are collected using standard nail clippers and are collected by the donor with a specimen collector present. Nail samples must be approximately 2 - 3 millimeters in length on all fingers or toes to provide a sample of sufficient weight. We do not mix finger and toenail samples. Doing so cannot provide an accurate use history.
Who should choose nail drug testing?
Nail drug testing is usually performed when hair testing cannot occur due to a lack of sufficient hair or in cases where a history of use is suspected, but the approximate time of use isn't known or isn't important.
Unlike hair testing, nail samples do not have a length requirement, only a weight requirement. In general, a sufficient nail sample can be obtained if each finger has at least 2 to 3 millimeters of nail that has grown beyond the nail bed. We do not perform any nail screens using "scrapings," only clippings.
Nail drug testing has been used successfully in legal proceedings.
How we can help.
We can provide confidential and court defensible nail 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 nail test?
Appointments are suggested but not required.
How long will the collection take?
Nail collections take approximately 30 minutes.
I have fake nails, can I still perform the test?
Acrylic or other artificial nails must be removed by a professional before arriving for testing. We cannot remove them.
My nails are painted or treated with a strengthener, can I still perform the test?
All nail polish, paint, enamels and treatments must be completely removed before arriving for testing. We cannot remove them.
Some of my nails are over 3 millimeters and some aren't, can I still test?
Possibly. Remember that the sample is not based on actual length, but on weight. If you measure each fingernail or toenail and add up the lengths, if the sum is equal to or greater than 30 millimeters (3 centimeters) you may still be able to test.
The best way to determine if you can test is to visit our office so that we can examine your sample for sufficiency.
My nails aren't long enough, how long do I need to wait before I can test?
It depends on how much of a sample you do have. In general, if your hands are protected when you work and there is little chance of them breaking or wearing away, 3 weeks is a good approximation for how long it will take for a sufficient sample to grow.
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 nail 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 nail sample I collected myself?
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, fingernail or toenail, 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 you would prefer to schedule you appointment to avoid another donor who will be testing, you will need the name of the other donor or donors that you wish to avoid
- 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 30 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 30 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 and fax results are typically available 5 days after the specimen is collected. A mailed test result is provided and typically arrive in the mail 10 to 17 days after the specimen is collected. Donors can also request to hold results at our Saint Charles office for pickup. Results are typically available for pickup 10 days after the specimen is collected. If you would like to pick up your result instead of having it mailed, please tell your collector during your appointment.
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.