When you decide to test your employees for drugs, you’ll have several different choices to make. Will you test your employees on-site or at a clinic? When would you like to implement the program? Will you use random testing? Most importantly, which panel of drug test would you like to use? The term “panel” refers to a drug or family of drugs included in a drug test. For example, the panel “opiates” includes morphine, codeine, and heroin. The more panels a test includes, the greater the scope of the test. So what are the different panel drug tests?
What Are the Different Panel Drug Tests?
These days, drug tests can detect a great variety of drugs, from marijuana and cocaine to Ritalin and bath salts. Drug panels can be customized, but most people stick with the standard tests: 5-panel, 6-panel, 7-panel, 8-panel, 9-panel, 10-panel, and 12-panel. Although a standard 5-panel urine drug test is a sensible choice for many companies, if you are concerned about the abuse of prescription drugs and painkillers, you may need to choose a more extensive test.
5-Panel Drug Test
- The most cost-effective option in the workplace
- Used by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for safety-sensitive positions that are regulated by DOT agencies (FMCSA, FAA, USCG, PRA, PHMSA, FTA)
- Tests for marijuana, opiates, PCP, cocaine, and amphetamines
6-Panel Drug Test
- Tests for marijuana, opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and benzodiazepines
7-Panel Drug Test
- Tests for marijuana, opiates, PCP, cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates
8-Panel Drug Test
- Tests for marijuana, opiates, PCP, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates
9-Panel Drug Test
- Tests for marijuana, opiates, PCP, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and methadone
10-Panel Drug Test
- Tests for marijuana, opiates, PCP, cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, methaqualone, and propoxyphene
12-Panel Drug Test
- The most comprehensive test, as it can test for extended opiates and the misuse of prescription painkillers
- Tests for marijuana, opiates, PCP, cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, methaqualone, propoxyphene, ecstasy, and oxycodone
For a quick summary of the drugs included in these common drug panel tests, check out this chart created with information from the Mobile Health Medical Service:
Remember that many opioid addictions lead to further drug use, including heroin, so you may find that a standard 5 and 10 panel is not fulfilling your needs. In this case, consider a 12-panel drug test, which tests for additional opiates and painkillers that would not show up on a test with fewer panels.
To choose the drug panel test that best fits your company’s needs, you might need to consider your industry, any applicable laws within your industry, and your corporate culture. Or, you could consult with your chosen drug-testing company to discuss your options.
Speaking of which, if you’re looking to implement a drug-free workplace through pre-employment or random drug testing, contact Employee Screening Services. Based in Springfield, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Missouri, we offer customized solutions to make drug testing simple, and our nationwide network of clinics and providers allows ESS to be available anytime, anywhere. For a free needs analysis, give us a call today at 1-888-379-7697 or contact us online. We would be happy to help!