Why use hair segmentation drug testing?

Hair segment drug testing

A segmented drug test uses an individual’s hair sample to give an account of the pattern of drug intake, month by month.

As head hair grows at an average rate of around 1 cm each month, cutting the whole sample into 1 cm sections allows review of each consecutive month. This allows drug misuse patterns to be determined over a period of time. 

For example, if a 6 cm sample is segmented, then a month-by-month chronology of drug use can be ascertained with 6 discrete results.

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Why do we recommend segmented hair analysis?

Without analysing each monthly segment of hair, you won’t be able to obtain the client’s pattern of drug use.

Segmented hair drug tests can show decreases or increases in drug use over time, and even highlight irregular drug use.

If you test the whole length of hair, it will only give you an average result for the whole timescale.

How segmented hair drug testing shows different patterns of drug use

For example, if individuals report that they have been cutting down on their drug misuse, this would then be reflected in reduced levels of the drug being detected in each segment over time.

Occasionally you’ll see a change in the pattern of misuse with individuals over a 6 month period.

For example, individuals taking the drug amphetamine ‘now and again’ will start to become amphetamine dependent. This leads them to take higher doses more frequently.

This is a pattern we see all too frequently at Atkinson Lewis, as it is reflected in rising levels within the segmented hair.

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Why does segmented hair drug testing aid court proceedings?

Hair segment drug test analysis

Such changes in the frequency and amount of misuse can lead to changes in the psychological everyday behaviour of the donor.

An experienced expert can predicate this, thus helping to show the full picture of substance misuse.


Key benefits of segmented hair drug analysis:
  • Provide a more accurate assessment of the individual’s substance misuse or abstinence when presented to court.
  • Support that the individual is trying to stop misusing and engaging in treatment.
  • Show when the individual is spiralling and struggling with an increasing addiction.
  • Provides a vital evidential picture in the court to aid them in making difficult decisions.
Want to discuss how segmented hair drug testing could benefit you?

Get in touch to discuss utilising our services. We’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have!

Alternatively, if you would like to read more information on hair segmentation drug testing, then please feel free to browse our blog!

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