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Forensic Science SA

Forensic Science SA (FSSA) provides services to some of South Australia’s largest government departments and undertakes award-winning research in forensic science.

Contact Forensic Science SA

In person:

21 Divett Place, Adelaide SA 5000

9am - 5pm (out-of-hours deliveries must be pre-booked)


GPO Box 2790, Adelaide SA 5001


08 8226 7700


forensicadministration [at] sa.gov.au


08 8226 7777

Hair drug testing

Hair testing can show drug use within a particular time period if concentration is high enough to be detected.

Who should apply?

  • Health professionals
  • Police officers
  • Accredited workplace drug testing agencies
Hair drug testing information

Hair types and collection

Drug use can be identified in hair if concentration is high enough to be detected. However, the presence of a drug does not always prove drug use. Drugs can be detected in hair for different reasons, including external contamination.

Chronic drug use can also result in drugs being detected months after use has stopped. FSSA hair testing detects trace amounts and may not be suitable to prove abstinence from drug use. 

Interpretation of results should be performed by an expert. Contact FSSA if an expert opinion report is required.

Hair can be analysed in segments of 1cm to 3cm length  - 1 cm = approximately 1 month hair growth. 
You will need to collect at least 1 cm of hair growth from the head.  Pubic, beard or under-arm hair can be analysed if head hair is not available. Hair from other regions of the body cannot be analysed.
A 3cm wide section of hair should be provided - approximately a pencil thickness of hair is the minimum requirement.

Request a collection kit and instructions

Email forensicadministration [at] sa.gov.au (subject: Request%20for%20a%20hair%20sampling%20collection%20kit)

Fees and payment 

Multiple segments of up to 3cm each can be analysed -
$748.18 + GST  (total $823) for each segment.

Payment is required before the hair can be analysed. The cost includes a report but not an interpretative report or court appearance time.

You can pay by:

  • cash
  • cheque (made out to Forensic Science SA)
  • credit card  - call Forensic Science SA on 08 8226 7700 or use the bpoint payment system.

follow these prompts if using bpoint:

  1. Biller Code: Forensic Services
  2. Full Name: person paying for the testing
  3. Contact number/email: if FSSA needs to contact you
  4. Customer reference: subject’s name – eg the donor
  5. Amount (AUD): depending on the amount of segments

Drugs covered by the test

Drug Lower limit of reporting* (pg/mg Uppper limit of reporting# (pg/mg)
delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 50


amphetamine 20 2500
methylamphetamine 20 2500
3,4- methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) 20 2500
3,4 methylenedioxyamhetamine  (MDMA) 20 2500
cocaine 20 2500
benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine) 20 2500
codeine 20 2500
morphine 20 2500
6-monoacetylmorphine (metabolite of heroin) 20 2500
fentanyl 20 1250
methadone 20 2500
oxycodone 20 2500
pethidine 20 2500
ketamine 20 2500
zolpidem 20 2500
alprazolam 50 6000
diazepam 50 6000
nordiazepam 50 6000
lorazepam 50 6000
midazolam 50 6000
oxazepam 50 6000
7-aminoclonazepam (metabolite of clonazepam) Reported as present only Reported as present only
7-aminoflunitrazepam (metabolite of flunitrazepam) Reported as present only Reported as present only
7-aminonitrazepam (metabolite of nitrazepam) Reported as present only Reported as present only

* Concentrations lower than the LLOR will be reported as 'not detected'

# Concentrations above the ULOR will be reported as 'greater than (ULOR)'

Note that the screening of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is performed using a separate procedure.

Hair sampling procedure

Use the collection kit provided by FSSA and follow the hair sampling procedure.

Hair Sampling Procedure (PDF 233KB)

How to apply

  1. Complete the Request for Hair Drug Analysis form (PDF 119KB)
  2. Email to forensicadministration [at] sa.gov.au (subject: Request%20for%20Hair%20Drug%20Analysis)
  3. Post the sealed sample to FSSA

Road Traffic Act blood samples

Results of blood samples analysed under this Act will normally be posted to the driver within three weeks.

Related information

Coronial process in South Australia

Forensic work - careers and education with the FSSA