What do employee drug tests test for?

What Do Drug Tests Test For?

Haley Bass

Drug testing is a common part of the American employment process. Most companies require new hires to complete a pre-employment drug test, and several organizations hold regular or random drug testing with existing employees.

But what do these drug tests actually test for?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) guidelines require drug tests to at least check for five illegal drugs (plus alcohol, in some cases):

  • Amphetamines (meth, speed, crank, ecstasy)
  • THC (cannabinoids, marijuana, hash)
  • Cocaine (coke, crack)
  • Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust) 

This is referred to as the 5-Panel Test. While this test covers the basics, private companies can test for any number or combination of substances. The most commonly used selections include:

The 8-Panel Test (the 5-Panel Test, plus the following):

  • Barbiturates (phenobarbital, butalbital, secobarbital, downers)
  • Benzodiazepines (tranquilizers like Valium, Librium, Xanax)
  • Methaqualone (Quaaludes)

The 10-Panel Test (the 8-Panel Test, plus the following):

  • Methadone (often used to treat heroin addiction)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon compounds)

The most common type of drug test is the urine test, due to its benefit of being inexpensive and less intrusive. But drug tests can also be completed with blood, hair, saliva, and sweat.

Detection periods for drugs vary. Learn more about the detection time for common drugs here.

Concentra offers a convenient and reliable drug testing process for your company’s needs. Potential employees can take a pre-employment drug test at one of our convenient medical centers, or at your company’s onsite center. Our drug testing turnaround times stay within 48 hours.

Concentra’s drug testing services can fulfill a variety of employer goals:

  • Ensure employee health, safety, and productivity
  • DOT employee drug screenings help you comply with regulatory guidelines
  • Help with your hiring process
  • Create a safer work environment