Human drug testing

LGC are thought leaders in the field of human drug analysis. Our mission is to set new standards in this industry providing a specialised testing service to a range of customers.

At our state-of-the-art laboratory in Cambridgeshire, UK, we specialise in the analysis of drugs of abuse, including anabolic steroids and New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) from a variety of matrices including urine, blood, powders and hair.

A team of scientific experts is dedicated to this analysis and each customer is assigned a technical specialist who oversees any process from initial conception/development through to the reporting of results.

The Human Testing service is operated out of our Sport and Specialised Analytical Services (SSAS) Department which incorporates our Animal Sports testing and Supplements testing operations. These activities are symbiotic and unique to LGC; knowledge and expertise is shared which enables SSAS to keep at the forefront of the latest threats and trends in the areas of drug abuse.

The coverage of analytes is potentially infinite, made possible by the use of highly sensitive Liquid Chromatographic-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) instrumentation. The data produced provides unequivocal identification of analytes and is of a legally defensible standard.


LGC SSAS is a UKAS ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited testing laboratory. The laboratory’s schedule of accreditation can be viewed through the UKAS website,

Our range of unparalleled testing services include:

Specialised analytical (bespoke) testing

We are experts in the analysis of anabolic steroids, New Psychoactive Substances as well as more traditional drugs of abuse. Our expertise dates back to our origins as the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory, which was established in 1963. Our services are not limited to ‘off-the-shelf’ analysis; they can be tailored to meet your individual requirements. This allows our service to be highly responsive (whilst still remaining competitive on pricing). Our flexible approach accommodates one-off analysis up to large-scale testing requirements.

Method development

We offer a full analytical method development service. We have a proven track record of finding solutions to complex problems. We are experts in the field of sample preparation and low-level analysis.

Intelligence-led testing programmes

As a customer, it is not always evident if current testing is fit for purpose. We have undertaken many surveillance studies for customers, utilising High Resolution Accurate Mass Spectrometry (HRAMS) which enable customers to decide upon future testing strategies.

Provision of third-party testing

We also provide our testing services to complement other service providers’ portfolios of testing. We have a long-standing history with many well-known providers who sub-contract testing to LGC. This affords the other laboratory access to our expertise and instrumentation. If you are a service provider please contact us to see how we can add value to your business.

North West ‘Through the Gate Substance Misuse Services’ Drug Testing Project 

The Further Public Health Monitoring study was undertaken in 10 North West region prisons in Phase 1 and more widely in Phase 2 as a key element of the ‘Through the Gate’ Substance Misuse Services Project and the wider Transforming Rehabilitation agenda.

The main objectives of the study were to determine drug misuse patterns for public health monitoring purposes and to inform healthcare commissioning intentions. The study also provided an opportunity to review the effectiveness of the ‘Spice’ point of care immunoassay screening test that was at the time being widely used across the prison estate to test for the use of synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs).

The study was funded by the Department of Health and the Home Office.

The study used the most up-to-date forensic drug screening programme to screen for a comprehensive range of traditional drugs of abuse, new psychoactive substances and anabolic steroids as well as prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Over 12,000 urine samples were analysed. The study also provided a unique opportunity to triangulate urine drug test results with prison drug seizures and local prescribing practices.

The full report and all appendices are available to read and download below.

Examples of recent scientific publications, white papers and presentations can be found here.

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