By Katie Kulp


There are three factors that every manager considers when choosing which drug tests to perform on potential employees: accuracy, speed, and cost. With that in mind, it’s important to understand what types of drug screenings are available. Here’s a quick look at the drug screening options that are available to you.

5-panel testing

The 5-panel test is designed to detect the five most commonly used illicit drugs: amphetamines, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), cocaine, opiates (including commonly abused prescription medications), and PCP. The 5-panel urine test is adequate for many employment situations and is the standard test mandated by the Department of Transportation and other government agencies.

10-panel testing

As you might expect, the 10-panel drug test is an expanded version of the 5-panel. In addition to the five illicit substances detected by the 5 panel, our standard10-panel drug screen will detect barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methaqualone, methadone, and propoxyphene. While the 5-panel test primarily detects substances that are illegal, the expanded 10 panel includes substances, mostly sedatives, that may be legal – at least with a prescription. All of these drugs, however, are often obtained illegally and abused. Even when used with a prescription and under a physician’s supervision, their sedative properties may disqualify their users from certain positions.

Urine versus hair – Which type of drug panel is best?

Both types of drug screen are very precise, so there’s no need to worry that one type of test will be less accurate than the other. Urine tests are almost always the fastest, simplest and, therefore, cheapest option. In fact, the vast majority of urine drug test results will be available to you within 1-2 days of delivery to the testing center.

When drug tests are performed using a sample of the candidate’s hair, testing usually takes an extra day or two to complete. A significant advantage to hair samples, however, is they can detect drug use from many months in the past, in contrast to the few days’ or weeks’-long window provided by urine screening.

What next?

Drug screening – even when it results in a positive test – is only one factor in your decision-making process. Interpreting drug tests while remaining complaint with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines requires expert guidance. Chane Solutions provides full-service support to all of our clients, meaning you’ll never be left wondering how to proceed. For more information about our comprehensive, tailor-made drug and background screening services, contact us today.

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