5 Panel Drug Test: What Will You Be Tested For

Last Updated on April 17, 2024

It’s common practice for certain employers to ask for a drug test before offering you a formal contract of employment.


This is particularly frequent in the healthcare industry or in roles that require the use of firearms or the operation of heavy machinery. The use of drugs tests helps your employer to flag any drug related issues and maintain a safe and secure working environment for you and your colleagues.


While this might be routine practice in your workplace, whether it be to onboard you into the company or as a regular spot-check, it can still be daunting if you don’t know what to expect. It’s important to be prepared and understand the reasons for the tests and what to look out for.


What is a 5 Panel Drug Test?

A 5-panel drug test can be provided as an at-home test or in the form of a professional test performed by a medical technician. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) uses these tests in certified laboratories as they allow a company to determine whether an employee, or potential employee has used drugs recently. They can also detect the type of drugs used and how long ago based on the toxins.


How Do 5 Panel Drugs Tests Work?

Typically, 5 panel drug tests are carried out using urine. However, while urine is a simpler collection method, hair follicle drug testing is now used widely in many industries as it can detect toxins for much longer after use – sometimes up to 90 days.


When taking the test, you’re likely to be asked to visit a private area or clinic to conduct the test. Depending on the types of drugs that your test is looking for, you may receive your results immediately, or you may have to wait for a period of two weeks for the results to return from a lab.


It’s worth noting that you may be asked to conduct the test and provide a sample in front of an assessor to determine its authenticity.


Either way, your employer, or future employer, will conduct your test in plenty of time to receive the results before you take on the role.


What Drugs Do 5 Panel Drugs Tests Look For?

If you are a recreational drug user or have used drugs in the recent past – even if you have now quit, it can be worrying to be asked to conduct a test before starting work.


If you still have traces of drugs in your system, it could lead to you losing the opportunity or losing your current job role. It is especially critical to consider stopping drug use as soon as you hear about an imminent drug test. This is because you may still show as positive on the test, even if you last took drugs weeks ago.


The key thing to understand, is what a 5 panel drugs test actually tests for:


Marijuana (THC)

Marijuana is the most commonly used drug on the market, coming directly from the plant Cannabis Sativa. It can be ingested through edibles – being baked into cakes or other foods or can be smoked for a stronger high.

The active chemical in Marijuana is THC, pulled from the leaves and flowers of the plant. This is the section of the plant that is most known to affect the brain and is therefore popular with recreational drug users.

Traces of Marijuana can be detected for up to 28 days after use with a 5-panel drug test, and sometimes even longer with a hair follicle drug test depending on the frequency and quantity of drug used and the method.

Employers test for this as the drug can cause short-term memory loss, distorted perception, paranoia, and an inability to solve simple problems. This could make working with others dangerous.


Cocaine comes directly from the leaves of a Coca plant. It can also be taken in multiple ways including rubbing into gums, snorting or injecting, if it’s dissolved into water. Crack cocaine can also be smoked.

It’s a popular drug because it works on the system almost immediately – providing a rush of energy and reducing fatigue. Cocaine can stimulate the nervous system and provide the same symptoms as a local anesthetic, reducing the awareness of pain or injury. However, as the results wear off, the taker may suffer from hypersensitivity in certain areas and tremors.

Too much cocaine can lead to seizures and become unresponsive.

For this reason, cocaine could be a huge risk to those in healthcare professions or those who operate machinery.

A 5-panel drug test can detect cocaine up to 5 days after use in the urine stream.

Phencyclidine (PCP)

PCP is a sedative that can reduce awareness and give the user an out-of-body feeling. It also has hallucinogenic effects through snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing depending on the form that you decide to take.

It can also cause an insensitivity to pain and potentially make the user feel paranoid and or vulnerable. This sometimes produces dangerous or violent outbursts which an employer needs to protect against. This can be detected for up to 7 days in the urine after use.

Amphetamines (including methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA, MDEA)

Methamphetamine is one of the fastest growing drugs across the US. It can be inhaled, injected, or taken orally, but has a high addiction rate. Users typically experience euphoric feelings, a heightened sense of awareness and increased energy.

However, repeated use or overuse can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches and heart palpitations. Blood pressure issues have also been linked to Meth and can cause health and safety concerns in a working environment, especially if the employee has access to machinery or firearms. These types of drugs are especially attractive because they can only be detected from a urine test for up to 4 days.

Opiates (including codeine, morphine, heroin)

Opium comes directly from the poppy plant and is one of the longest running recreational drugs on the market. Opiates can span from legal and prescription medication such as codeine and morphine, right up to heroin.

The strengths and ways to take opiates vary greatly and unfortunately, opiates are incredibly addictive. They provide a euphoric feeling initially but can devolve into issues with brain proteins and spinal cord compounds.

Another attraction of opiates is that they are only able to be detected in urine tests for up to 4 days.

Despite these timeframes, hair follicle drugs testing can detect all of these drugs for up to 90 days after use.

What to Expect After the Test

A 5 panel drugs test is incredibly effective at detecting recent drug use – over the past couple of weeks. You don’t need to do any specific preparation for this. Usually a urine sample will be taken to be sent off to a lab for testing.

Your results will either display as positive, negative, or inconclusive. If you see a positive, but you know that to be false, you can request to be retested on one occasion again.

If you receive an inconclusive result, this often means that the test cannot say whether or not a drug is detected conclusively, or that the test was conducted incorrectly or was contaminated. In these scenarios, you may be asked to test again.

A negative result means that there were no drugs detected in your system. That is either because you haven’t taken any, or that they were too long ago to detect.

How Effective Are 5 Panel Drugs Tests

5 panel drug tests are an effective and fast way of detecting drugs in the system. They can detect certain drugs even if they were taken weeks before the test. While certain articles will say that drinking lots of water will reduce the toxins in your urine, this is rarely the case and won’t affect the results.

However, rather than urine tests, many employers are now requesting to have a hair follicle drug test conducted. This is because toxins are present for much longer in the scalp, giving a more accurate result.

With a 5-panel urine test, drugs can be detected if taken a few weeks before the test but can’t be detected if they’re taken immediately before the test. This is because the drugs need to have been digested into the bloodstream before they can be detected at all.

10 Panel Drugs Tests

While the 5 panel drugs tests are the most common when it comes to employment drugs testing, certain companies request that you take a 10-panel test. This is exactly the same principle, but the test will look for 10 different types of drugs. This allows your employer to cover a wider range of issues and further protect you and their workforce.

The 10-panel drug test provides wider coverage across many different types of drugs, just like a hair follicle drugs test. However, they cover many drugs that have a shorter-lasting toxin. Meaning you’ll be less likely to pull up a positive test result, even if you used recently, due to the speed that the toxins leave your system.

The 10 panel tests look out for all of the same drugs as the 5 panel tests, but can also detect:

  • Quaaludes

Can be detected for 10-15 days after use.

  • Propoxyphene

A 10-panel drug test detects these for between 6 to 48 hours after use, making them a popular choice for people who know they have to pass regular tests.

  • Methadone

These can be detected for 3 days after use.

  • Benzodiazepines

Are prescribed drugs and only last for 3 days in your system if used as directed. However, if they are used more frequently, they can be detected for up to 6 weeks.

  • Barbiturates

These can be detected for anything from 24 hours to 3 weeks depending on the type of barbiturates used and the frequency and quantity.


How To Get Rid of Drug Trace To Pass A 5 Panel Drug Test

A 5 panel drug tests for the trace of drugs in your hair. If you have been using any of the substances mentioned in the above drugs list, you will have trace elements that can be detected within a 5 panel drugs test.

To pass a 5 panel drug test will mean that you will have to remove all trace of drugs from your hair.

We have a process that is99.9% guaranteed to get rid of all drug trace from your hair. It is called the Mike Macujo Method. This process has been used on thousands of people that have subsequently passed their 5 panel drug test.

Please check the Mike Macujo Method for full details of how to get rid of drug trace from your hair.


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