Ellis County DWI / DUI Lawyer

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Introduction to Hair Follicle Testing

Hair follicle testing is a sophisticated method used to detect the presence of drugs and alcohol in an individual’s system. Unlike other forms of testing, such as urine or blood tests, hair follicle testing offers a longer detection window, providing valuable insights into an individual’s substance use history. This comprehensive guide delves into the use of hair follicle testing in detecting alcohol and drugs, the areas from which hair can be harvested, its detection periods, testing procedures, and its application in legal and familial contexts.

Areas for Hair Follicle Harvesting

Hair follicle testing involves the collection of hair from various parts of the body. The most common areas for hair follicle harvesting include:

  1. Scalp: Hair samples are often collected from the scalp due to its accessibility and ease of collection.

  2. Armpits (Axillary Hair): Axillary hair, located in the armpits, can also be utilized for hair follicle testing.

  3. Chest and Back: Hair from the chest and back regions can provide additional samples for testing, particularly in cases where scalp hair is unavailable.

Detection Periods of Hair Follicle Testing

Hair follicle testing offers a longer detection window compared to other testing methods, making it a valuable tool in determining an individual’s substance use history. The detection periods for various substances are as follows:

  1. Drugs: Hair follicle testing can detect a wide range of drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, opioids, amphetamines, and methamphetamine. Depending on the length of the hair sample collected, drug use can be detected for up to 90 days or longer, depending on the growth rate of the hair.

  2. Alcohol: While less common than drug testing, hair follicle testing can also detect chronic alcohol consumption. Alcohol markers, such as ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs), can be detected in hair samples for up to three months or more.

Procedures of Hair Follicle Testing

The process of hair follicle testing involves several key steps:

  1. Sample Collection: A small sample of hair is collected from the chosen area of the body using scissors or clippers. The sample is typically taken close to the scalp to capture recent drug or alcohol use.

  2. Sample Preparation: The collected hair sample is then cleaned and prepared for testing to remove external contaminants.

  3. Testing and Analysis: The prepared hair sample undergoes laboratory testing using specialized equipment to identify the presence of drugs or alcohol metabolites.

  4. Interpretation of Results: The results of the hair follicle test are interpreted by qualified professionals, taking into account the presence and concentration of substances detected.

Use of Hair Follicle Testing in Legal and Familial Contexts

Hair follicle testing is widely used in legal and familial settings for various purposes:

  1. Courts and Law Enforcement: Hair follicle testing is employed by courts and law enforcement agencies to assess substance use history, particularly in cases involving probation, custody disputes, or criminal investigations.

  2. Family Law: In family law proceedings, hair follicle testing may be utilized to determine parental fitness or suitability in child custody cases, adoption evaluations, or substance abuse interventions.


Hair follicle testing represents a valuable and versatile method for detecting drugs and alcohol in individuals, offering a longer detection window compared to other testing methods. By understanding the procedures, detection periods, and applications of hair follicle testing, professionals in legal, medical, and familial settings can utilize this tool effectively to assess substance use history and make informed decisions.

In summary, hair follicle testing serves as a powerful tool in detecting drugs and alcohol in individuals, offering valuable insights into substance use history over an extended period. Understanding its procedures, detection periods, and applications is essential for professionals in various fields, enabling them to make informed decisions in legal, medical, and familial contexts.

Contact our Ellis County Criminal Lawyer firm today.


Picture of an Ellis County Sheriff SUV to take criminals to jail who need lawyers

Time is of the essence…

If you were arrested for a DWI you only have 15 days to request a hearing for ALR – automatic license renewal.  If you do not request a hearing in time or do not show up prepared, your license could be suspended.

Likewise other crimes have important factors that are time sensitive.  It may be important to have you tested at a court approved lab for drugs or other substances because drugs will metabolize out of your system very quickly and there is only a small window of time left to test.

And for other crimes still it can be important to get witness testimonies or affidavits before the details start to blur or fade or before other parties obtain lawyers and stop talking.

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