Parental Drug & Alcohol Misuse

In order to protect children, it is sometimes necessary for courts to direct that adults directly concerned in their welfare be screened for the presence of alcohol and drugs.

Analysis of urine and hair can be used as tools to help demonstrate abstention from alcohol and drug misuse.

NIVHA provides a complete service: from sample collection, laboratory analysis and expert interpretative report for court purposes.

All analytical work is accredited to UKAS 17025 standard. Our practice adheres to European guidelines for hair testing (www.soht.org).

Sample Types


Many drugs of abuse can be detected in urine for several days after the last instance of use. Cannabis however and can be detected in urine for a longer period of time, depending upon the pattern of abuse – for up to several weeks in regular users.

Urine is not the ideal matrix for evidence of alcohol abstention.


The use of hair is particularly useful as it enables drug abuse to be detected over a much longer period of time.

Body hair (underarm, chest or pubic) can also be used, but the growth rate of non-scalp hair is less predictable and generally represents a longer time period.

Although alcohol cannot be measured directly in hair, it is possible to measure a number of minor alcohol metabolites; the presence of these compounds in a sample of hair can be used as a marker for excessive alcohol use. Pubic hair is not suitable for this purpose.

Hair + Urine

It can take several weeks for drugs to be incorporated into hair. Consequently, combining urine and hair tests can be particularly useful. Because both samples are collected at the same time, this is also cost effective. It is also useful if proof of cannabis use is required.

Windows of Detection

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