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What is looked for in a 10-panel drug test?

Simply put, a 10-panel drug test is an employment screening device that checks the applicant for various drugs. This test typically looks for several drugs. Some of the most common to look for are cocaine, marijuana, PCP, amphetamines, opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene and quaaludes.  However, employers can decide which drugs they’d like to test for.

These drugs are among the most common to be tested. This is because they’re all a part of the most commonly misused drugs in the United States.

One place of works list may completely differ from another. One employer may not test for marijuana but wants to test for prescription painkillers or ecstasy, for example. The only thing that makes a 10-panel test a 10-panel test is that it looks for 10 different drugs in the applicants’ system.

Note: New York State recently permitted adult-use cannabis. However, it remains federally illegal and employers can still test for this substance. This is not legal advice. Please contact your legal team regarding how this policy change relates to your company.

How do a 10-panel drug test and a 5-panel test differ?

The 10-panel test also is typically used as an augmentation to the 5-panel test. In the 5-panel test, the biggest areas of concern are illicit drugs. The 10-panels tests typically include five more commonly abused prescription drugs.

Employers can have the test check for any legal or illegal substance, including legitimately prescribed medication. This is because prescribed medications can be abused by those without proper medical reasons. Test for it, if it comes up, you can ask the applicant to explain the result.

Just about any bodily fluid or DNA marker could be tested. You could do a blood or hair analysis, but urine tests tend to be the standard. 

a 10-panel drug test agreement form
An example of a drug test consent form

How accurate is a 10-panel drug test?

This test has a high degree of accuracy when determining whether an applicants system has metabolized any of the drugs. For tests that also include alcohol, you can determine impairment at the time of testing. You have to test by the blood or breath for this.  For drug use, testing via blood isn’t as certain as a urine test.

Urine tests’ biggest drawback is that they cannot determine impairment at the time of the test. However, drugs stay in the system longer via urine than blood. Therefore, testing via this method gives better results for general use.

How long are drugs in the system?

Depending on the drug in question and dose, it can remain in the system for as little as 24 hours, or as much as several weeks. The amount of time drugs are able to be determined if they’re in an applicant’s system or not is called a detection window. Below, we have provided a table of the most common drugs tested for in 10-panel drug tests and their detection windows.

DrugDetection Window
Alcohol1.5hrs per oz
Amphetamines2-3 days
Barbiturates2-10 days
Benzodiazepines 2-3 weeks
Cannabis 3 to 30 days, depending on frequency of use
Cocaine 2-10 days
Methadone2-3 days
Methaqualone10-15 days
Methamphetamine2-3 days
Opioids 1-3 days
Phencyclidine (PCP)8 days
Propoxyphene 2 days
Detection windows for common drugs looked for in a 10-panel drug test

Contact Employment Screening Services today!

The 10-panel drug test is a great way to test your prospective employees to ensure your hiring standards are up to the task. Don’t allow someone who can harm your company’s reputation into the mix, test your new hires before you have to put out their fires. Employment Screening Services has everything you need to make sure your new employee is up to your standards. We offer a bevy of services to meet all your needs.  Contact us to learn more about pricing and set up a plan.