Being drug tested is simply part of being employed in the transportation industry, particularly if you’re a driver. With that said, the actual process and system that’s in place for testing involves many different steps. When it comes to urine testing guidelines, it’s important to understand how this process–including detection windows–works.
At Fleet Drug Testing, we’re here to help you stay compliant with DOT and FMCSA regulations when it comes to drug testing requirements. We have programs and solutions that you need. Contact us today to get started.
How Many Panels Are on a Urine Test?
Generally speaking, a “panel” refers to a combination of drugs or substances that are being tested for in a drug screening. It’s a predefined set of substances that the drug test will check for in your urine or other bodily fluids. Drug test panels are used to determine if you have used or been exposed to specific drugs or substances.
A urine drug test can have different panels depending on the specific substances being tested for. The most common panels include:
- 5-Panel – This is the standard panel and tests for five common drugs: marijuana (THC), cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP).
- 7-Panel – In addition to the drugs tested in the 5-panel, this test includes benzodiazepines and barbiturates.
- 10-Panel – This broader test includes the drugs from the 5 and 7-panel tests and adds methadone, propoxyphene, and methaqualone.
- 12-Panel – This is an even more comprehensive test that includes the drugs from the 10-panel and adds buprenorphine and oxycodone.
- Expanded panels – Some tests may be customized to include specific drugs or classes of drugs relevant to a particular organization or industry. These tests can include even more substances.
Currently, DOT regulations provide for only a 5-panel test. That said, certain scenarios may require more extensive testing. Thus, it’s important to understand how the collection process works–and how to interpret the results.
How Far Back Does a 10-Panel Urine Test Go?
If you have to submit to a 10-panel drug test, the limits and detection window is going to depend on a variety of factors, from the type of substance all the way down to your own personal health details. However, a 10-panel urine test typically has the following detection windows:
- Marijuana (THC) – Can be detected in urine for up to 1 to 30 days, with frequent users having a longer detection window.
- Cocaine – Typically detectable for 1 to 3 days in urine.
- Amphetamines – Usually detectable for 1 to 3 days.
- Opioids – Detection time is about 1 to 3 days.
- Phencyclidine (PCP) – Typically detectable for 1 to 7 days.
- Benzodiazepines – Detection time varies by the specific benzodiazepine but can range from a few days to several weeks.
- Barbiturates – Detection time varies but is generally up to 3 days.
- Methadone – Usually detectable for 1 to 7 days.
- Propoxyphene – Detection time is about 1 to 2 days.
- Methaqualone – Typically detectable for around 10 to 14 days.
Ultimately, the procedure for collecting and testing your urine sample is going to influence any results. Here’s how the process usually works:
- Notification – The employee is informed that they have been selected for drug testing and provided with instructions regarding when and where to appear for the test.
- Collection – The employee arrives at a designated collection site and discreetly provides a urine sample. This process necessitates the presence of a same-gender collection technician to oversee it, ensuring the sample’s integrity.
- Split sample – The collection technician divides the urine sample into two containers: the primary specimen and the split specimen. These containers are then securely sealed with tamper-evident seals and labeled with distinct identification numbers.
- Chain of custody – The collection technician completes a chain-of-custody form, meticulously recording the entire process of collection, labeling, and handling of the specimens. This crucial document is signed and dated by both the employee and the collection technician.
- Testing – The primary specimen undergoes an initial immunoassay test. In cases of a positive result, a confirmatory test utilizing gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is conducted to verify the presence of the drug.
- MRO review – If the test yields a positive result, the Medical Review Officer (MRO) examines the findings and contacts the employee to investigate whether there is a valid medical explanation for the positive outcome.
- Result reporting – The MRO conveys the test results to both the employer and the employee. In the event of a positive result, the employee is promptly removed from safety-sensitive duties.
The key distinction of a DOT urine test lies in the purpose and extent of drug testing. DOT drug tests are obligatory for safety-sensitive roles within the transportation sector, following standardized procedures and a set list of substances for testing. Still, if you have to submit to more extensive testing for any reason, it’s important to be prepared and most of all, drug free.
Help From Experienced Professionals at Fleet Drug Testing
When it comes to drug testing, Fleet Drug Testing has the solutions you need. Our comprehensive programs and services offer reliable solutions for drug testing, with accurate recording and reporting of results. Whether you’re a truck driver or a company seeking to streamline your drug testing program, we are here to help. Get in touch with us today to get started.