5-panel Drug Testing
A 5-panel drug test checks to see whether you have one or more prescription or illicit substances in your body. A potential employer may order this test, or it may be a part of a court case. It may also get ordered by a doctor who needs to check whether you are using your medications correctly.
Who should get a 5-panel drug test?
You may need to take a 5-panel drug test if you want to work for an employer that operates a drug-free workplace, as this test can reveal whether you have recently misused a prescription drug or illicit substance.
According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), other reasons to take this test are if you want to participate in an organized sports group, you are part of a police investigation or court case, or you are exhibiting signs of a drug overdose. In addition, some drug and alcohol rehab centers may also ask you to submit to a 5-panel drug test to monitor your treatment progress, adds the NLM.
Your doctor may ask you to take a 5-panel drug test if it is suspected that you are using prescription medication in ways other than for what it was prescribed, reports the NLM. Examples of prescription drug misuse include taking a higher dosage than needed to get high or using a prescription that was written for someone else.
How to get a 5-panel drug test
There are several ways to get a 5-panel drug test, including meeting with your primary care doctor or going to a walk-in lab that offers this service. If your employer wants you to take this test, it may refer you to a lab that offers 5-panel drug testing if it wants to hire you or perform random drug testing on its employees.
The NLM says you can also purchase drug tests for at-home use. These tests usually require you to collect a sample of your urine or saliva and send it to a lab where your sample is tested for the presence of drugs. The NLM adds that some at-home drug test kits include the cost of a second lab test. This may be necessary for some instances to check the accuracy of a first test that produces positive results.
Another way to find out how to get a 5-panel drug test is to use Solv. Solv is a directory that allows you to identify labs and clinics in your area that offer the 5-panel drug test. After identifying drug testing providers on Solv, you can contact them for more information regarding what you need to do to get one of these tests.
Which drugs can be detected with a 5-panel drug test?
A 5-panel drug test will screen you for marijuana (THC), cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and phencyclidine (PCP), reports the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Amphetamines that are screened during a 5-panel drug test include amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA, and MDA. Opioids screened during this drug test include codeine, morphine, heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone, adds the DOT.
Your drug testing provider can confirm the names and types of drugs that are included in a 5-panel drug test before your appointment.
What happens during a 5-panel drug test?
During a 5-panel drug test, you will be asked to provide a small sample of your urine, saliva, blood, hair, or sweat, reports the NLM. Your drug testing provider will tell you more about what to expect from this test based on the methods it uses to collect your sample.
The NLM adds that the most commonly used drug tests require you to provide a urine sample. In many instances, you will be given a small, sterile cup into which you will urinate. Your urine sample is then evaluated onsite or in a lab for the presence of drugs. However, in certain cases, a healthcare worker may need to be present while you provide your urine sample. This is done to ensure your urine sample is yours and not diluted or tampered with in any way.
A blood test for drugs is performed in the same way as a routine blood test for other medical procedures. During a blood test, your testing provider will use a small needle to draw a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. You may feel a slight sting at the needle injection site, says the NLM. It adds that a blood draw usually takes under five minutes to perform.
Contact your testing provider to learn more about what will happen during a 5-panel drug test, and about the steps you should take to prepare. For example, if you are having a hair test, you may want to refrain from cutting or shaving your hair so you can provide an adequate sample.
What do results mean from a 5-panel drug test?
Your doctor or the testing provider will most likely contact you with the results of the 5-panel drug test when they are ready.
If your result is negative, it usually means that none of the five drugs that were tested were found in your sample. It could also mean that a very small amount of drugs were in your system, but there wasn’t enough to make your test results come back positive, reports the NLM.
A positive result usually means that one or more drugs were found in your system which indicates you were misusing prescription drugs or using illicit drugs. The NLM says that most positive tests require a follow-up test to rule out false positive results. It adds that follow-up drug tests usually provide more accurate results.
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5-panel Drug Testing FAQs
How do I prepare for a 5-panel drug test?
Avoid eating foods that contain poppy seeds, such as muffins, as these can show up as opioids on a drug test. It also recommends telling the drug testing provider about any and all substances you are using, including nutritional supplements, given how they may affect your results.
What are other names for a 5-panel drug test?
A 5-panel drug test may also be referred to as a drug screen, drugs of abuse testing, substance abuse testing, toxicology screen, or tox screen, says the NLM. If you are asked to take a drug test, you can confirm whether the test will be a 5-panel drug test.
What are the risks of taking a 5-panel drug test?
There are no known physical risks to taking a drug test, says the NLM. However, positive results may affect your overall livelihood, as they may cause you to lose a court case, be excluded from playing on sports teams, or from missing out on getting a new job.
When do 5-panel drug test results come back?
Results from a 5-panel drug test can come back anywhere between a few hours or days, and a few weeks. Ask the drug testing provider to confirm when your test results will come back and when you will be contacted to discuss them.
What happens if I test positive on a 5-panel drug test?
The consequences of testing positive on a 5-panel drug test will usually depend on the reason you are having the test. For example, if your employer ordered the test, you may lose your job or the test may impact the hiring process. The organization that requested the test will usually tell you what to expect if you test positive.
What happens if I test positive for marijuana and live in a state where it is legal?
An employer can still penalize you if you test positive for marijuana and live in a state where this drug has been legalized. It adds that some employers want to maintain or are legally required to maintain a drug-free workplace and that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
How soon after taking a drug will there be a positive drug test result?
Most drugs will show up on a drug test within a few hours after you take them. For example, you will test positive for marijuana if you used it one to three hours before your test, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
How long do drugs stay in your system?
The length of time a drug will stay in your system will vary based on a variety of factors. These factors include the length of time you were using the drug, the amount of the drug you were using, and your metabolism, says the FDA.
What is the cost of a 5-panel drug test?
The cost of a 5-panel drug test will depend on factors such as fees set by the testing provider and whether someone else is paying for the test—such as your employer. The drug testing provider can confirm the cost of a 5-panel drug test before your appointment.
Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
- Drug Testing (June 7, 2022)
- DOT 5 Panel Notice (March 6, 2018)
- Drugs of Abuse Home Use Test (September 27, 2018)
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