What is drug and alcohol testing?

As a leading drug and alcohol testing laboratory, we test for a wide range of drugs and their metabolites using hair, oral fluid, urine, and nail samples. We also offer a full alcohol testing service including point-of-care breath tests, blood analysis, nail analysis, hair analysis and SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring®.

Hair drug testing – This is an extremely useful form of drug testing and can be used to support other methods such as oral fluid or urine testing. Hair testing, which uses a sample of either head or body hair, can provide a comprehensive insight into an individual’s drug use. It is known as a ‘wide window’ form of testing as it can provide up to 12 months of analysis.

Oral fluid drug testing – This method of testing uses a sample of saliva and analyses it to determine whether someone has been using drugs. It is particularly suitable for on-site or point-of-care testing. A negative result means that no further action is required, but a non-negative result requires additional testing from the laboratory. This type of testing is known as ‘narrow window’ testing and typically offers a detection period of up to 48 hours, although this can depend on the substance taken.

Urine drug testing – This type of drug testing uses a sample of urine, which is analysed for substances. Again, a negative result means that no further action is required. A non-negative result requires additional testing from the laboratory.

Nail drug testing – If hair drug testing is not possible, such as the donor having little or no hair, for religious reasons, or for those concerned about their appearance, then nail drug testing is an alternative. Unlike hair drug testing however, nail testing can’t provide a historic segmented pattern of drug use, but it can provide an overview of up to 12 months.

Breath alcohol testing – With this type of testing, the individual blows into a breath alcohol device and the results appear as a digital readout. This will be the breath alcohol concentration (BAC), which shows the level of alcohol in the breath at the time the test was taken. This test does not measure the historical use of alcohol.

Blood alcohol testing – Blood alcohol tests include a liver function test (LFT), a carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT) test, a mean corpuscular volume (MCV) test and phosphatidylethanol (PEth) testing. These tests provide a 4-week window of detection for chronic and excessive alcohol consumption.

Hair alcohol testing – A head hair sample can provide up to a 6-month overview as to whether there has been chronic and excessive use of alcohol, whereas a body hair sample can provide up to a 12-month overview.

Nail alcohol testing – Nail samples can also be analysed for a specific long-term marker of ethanol called ethyl glucuronide (EtG). These EtG biomarkers become trapped within the keratin fibres along the length of the nail. Analysing nail clippings for alcohol use can give an overview of up to 12 months.

Why might someone require drug or alcohol testing for work and official matters?

There are several reasons why you might need a drug or alcohol test for official matters or work. This includes:

  • You are a parent/guardian whose child requires a negative drug or alcohol test result for educational institutions e.g. school, college, or university
  • You are a contractor or consultant who requires a drug or alcohol test to start work
  • For private legal matters e.g. child custody proceedings or divorce proceedings
  • For industrial tribunal proceedings
  • ​​You have previously lost your driving licence due to a drink driving offence, and want to apply to have your licence reinstated

Why choose AlphaBiolabs for drug and alcohol testing?

With extensive experience providing drug and alcohol testing for members of the public, the legal sector and the workplace sector, we are perfectly placed to help you with accurate and reliable laboratory testing for official purposes and work purposes.

Our award-winning and ISO 17025-accredited laboratory can test a variety of samples for the presence of drugs and alcohol and their metabolites. We have invested in the very latest drug and alcohol testing technology for our state-of-the-art toxicology laboratory, employing leading scientists, so you can be confident of receiving a 100% accurate result.

Our drug and alcohol test results are accepted by a variety of organisations and institutions for official purposes, including:

  • Courts, including Family Law Courts
  • Public bodies and government agencies
  • Businesses of all sizes across all sectors
  • Educational institutions e.g. schools, colleges, and universities

All samples obtained for official matters are collected under strict chain of custody procedures, so you can be sure that your test results will be accepted in court, if required.

Our nationwide network of sample collectors can visit you at a location of your choice to collect your samples for testing. Alternatively, you can choose to have your samples collected by an expertly trained AlphaBiolabs sample collector at our Dublin walk-in centre.

Call our friendly, knowledgeable Customer Services team today on 01 402 9466 to request a quote, or email

If you are a legal professional, social worker or local authority looking for court-instructed drug and alcohol testing, click here.