Forensic Hair Analysis

Identifying drugs of abuse with forensic hair analysis

Hair was one of the first alternative sample matrices for drugs of abuse testing, after blood and urine. It is considered one of the most efficient matrices to investigate long-term drug use or drug-related histories. The window of detection can indicate drug use as far back as several months. Hair testing primarily involves identifying metabolites of drugs of abuse, with labor and time intensive sample preparation.

Identification of unknown new psychoactive substances (NPS) can be aided by forensic hair analysis. Potential metabolites from these new unknowns may be detectable in hair, long after partitioning into blood and urine.

Learn how forensic scientists use innovative mass spectrometry–based technology for identifying drugs of abuse in hair.

Featured resources

Application note

  Sensitive determination of psychoactive cannabinoid (THCCOOH) in hair using triple quadrupole GC-MS/MS

Learn how to optimize the analytical setup for sensitive determination of THCCOOH in hair using GC-MS/MS.


Detection of 3-methylmethcathinone and its metabolites in pubic hair samples by liquid chromatography-high resolution/high accuracy Orbitrap MS

This study looks at identifying 5 NPS in pubic hair using LC with high-resolution accurate mass (HRAM) Orbitrap MS.


Fast Forensic Hair Analysis for Drugs of Abuse Using DART Ionization and Orbitrap HRAM

Learn how scanning hair with HRAM MS can provide information regarding an individual’s past drug exposure within minutes.

Forensic Resource Library

Further your knowledge of forensic testing applications and technologies with our comprehensive collection of applications and technical notes, peer-reviewed journal publications, webinars, posters, and more.

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