How much does a hair drug test cost?

Court-ordered drug tests take place every day in Ireland. Hair drug testing is the gold standard in toxicological analysis and is the most effective way to determine a person’s pattern of drug use over a period of up to 12 months.

What is hair drug testing?

hair drug test is used to analyse samples of hair, originating from the head or body, for the presence of drugs and their metabolites (breakdown products).

Upon consumption, drugs enter the bloodstream.  Through the bloodstream, the parent drug and its metabolites travel to the hair follicles, where they are deposited and remain within the hair shaft as it grows.

Therefore, when the hair is analysed by the toxicology laboratory, the parent drug and/or its metabolites will be identified within the hair.

How does hair drug testing work?

Hair drug testing can be used to examine cut hair samples for the presence of drugs and drug metabolites.

When a person ingests drugs, the drug and/or its metabolites enter the bloodstream, and as a result their hair follicles. The drugs become entrapped within the innermost layer of the hair shaft known as the medulla. A toxicology laboratory can then detect drugs within a cut hair sample for a period of up to 12 months.

A month-by-month pattern of drug use can be determined by considering the following two statistics:

  1. it takes 7-10 days for hair to grow above the surface of the scalp
  2. head hair grows at an average rate of 1 cm per month

There are two methods available for head hair drug testing: segmented analysis, and overview analysis.

Segmented analysis is the most detailed form of hair strand testing for drugs. The collected hair sample is separated into 1 cm segments that are then analysed to provide a detailed month-by-month history of drug use. As a result, segmented analysis is particularly helpful for identifying trends in drug use, such as intermittent use, or the increase and/or decrease of drug consumption over time.

Segmented analysis can be used to identify patterns in drug use for a period of up to 12 months.

On the other hand, overview analysis provides a more general insight into a person’s drug use. The hair sample collected will be analysed to obtain an overview of drug use that is averaged out over the selected time period.

The maximum length of hair that can be tested to provide an overview of drug use is 3 cm, which provides an overview of three months.

The maximum overview period that can be provided is 12 months, which will be shown as 4 x 3-month overviews.

It is important to consider that in a hair strand overview test, an individual could test positive if they have abstained from drugs for 2 out of the 3 months, but ingested drugs within the other month, as the result is calculated as an average consumption over the defined period.

How much does a hair drug test cost?

The cost of a hair strand drug test depends on the exact testing requirements, and will vary on a case-by-case basis.

The key factors that will influence the cost are:

  • The number of drugs being tested for
  • The time period of analysis required
  • Whether the test is a segmented or an overview analysis

To request a quote for hair drug testing, simply complete our online form, and a member of our Legal sales team will be in touch to discuss your needs.

You can also call 01 402 9466 or email for more information.

If you have received a quote for hair drug testing from another testing laboratory, we will match their price and reduce it by a further 5%. This will always make AlphaBiolabs the most cost-effective solution for your legal drug testing needs.

Where can I get drug hair test?

AlphaBiolabs has extensive experience providing hair drug testing services for local authorities, family law professionals and social workers.

All hair sample collections are performed under strict chain of custody conditions, and our test results are accepted by courts in Ireland.

We also offer FREE sample collections for legally-instructed hair drug tests from our Dublin walk-in centre.

For expert advice or to request a quote for hair drug testing, call our Legal team on 01 402 9466 or email

Alternatively, complete our online quote form, and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss your needs.

If you are a member of the public looking for a drug test for official matters, please click here.

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Karolina Baker AlphaBiolabs

Karolina Baker

Health Testing Specialist at AlphaBiolabs

Karolina joined AlphaBiolabs in 2021, and holds the role of Health Testing Specialist.

As well as overseeing a range of health tests, Karolina plays an active role in the research and development of the company’s latest health test offerings.

Before joining AlphaBiolabs, Karolina worked as an Associate Practitioner at Mid-Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and as a research assistant at the Turner Laboratory, within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester.

Karolina’s main scientific interests include clinical genomics and genetic diagnostics. Her qualifications include a BSc in Molecular Biology and an MSc in Genomic Medicine.

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