5-Panel Drug Test

Drug and alcohol usage in the workplace
is becoming a significant problem.
Therefore, in efforts to maintain a safe
work setting in the workplace, many
companies conduct 5-panel drug testing.
A pre-employment drug test is still only
required for
 less than 2% of occupations in the United
States  and only one city has a
percentage exceeding 2.4%.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to recognize
the importance of reliable screening
techniques like the 5-panel
 drug test for occupational safety, given
the growing concern surrounding
substance abuse in various industries.
Blood testing is another method employed
to identify drug and alcohol usage. This
article overviews the 5-panel drug test,
including its purpose, detection
capabilities, and administration

What Is A 5-Panel Drug Test?

The 5-panel drug test can be conducted
in various scenarios, for example,
pre-employment screening, random
workplace testing, reasonable suspicion
or cause-based testing, testing after an
accident, and probationary monitoring.
What does a 5 panel drug test test for?
A 5-panel rapid drug screen test is a
standard drug screening method that
analyzes a person’s urine or oral
fluid sample for the presence of five
common illicit substances. These
substances include:

  1. Marijuana (THC)
  2. Cocaine
  3. Opiates
  4. Phencyclidine (PCP)
  5. Amphetamines

The 5-panel drug test identifies the
metabolites or byproducts generated by
these substances during their breakdown
within the body. Lab analysis can
identify these metabolites, providing
insight into an individual’s recent
drug use.

When Is The 5-Panel Drug Test

The 5-panel drug test is commonly
employed in various circumstances,
particularly in the United States, where
it has become the industry standard for
drug testing. Many private employers, as
well as the Federal government and the
Department of Transportation (DOT), choose to utilize the 5-panel drug
test for their workplace screening

This test is designed to detect the
presence of five specific substances,
which typically include commonly abused
drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines,
opioids, benzodiazepines, and
phencyclidine (PCP). The 5-panel drug
test is often utilized during
pre-employment screening to ensure a
safe and drug-free workplace
environment. It is also commonly used in
post-accident testing to determine if
substance use may have contributed to
workplace incidents. Additionally,
random drug testing of employees may
involve the 5-panel test to deter drug
use and promote safety and

The test is known for its reliability,
cost-effectiveness, and ability to
detect recent drug use within a certain
timeframe. Employers may also opt for
the 5-panel drug test when they do not
have specific concerns about other drugs
beyond the standard five substances. The
test can be conducted on various testing
specimens, such as urine, blood, saliva,
or hair, depending on the employer’s
preference and the level of detection

DOT And Non-DOT 5-Panel Drug

There are two primary categories of
5-panel drug tests: those done under the
Department of Transportation (DOT)
guidelines and non-DOT drug tests. The
DOT test is mandatory for safety-related
positions in transportation, aviation,
and public transit industries. Non-DOT
drug screenings are typically
implemented by private employers in
various industries outside the scope of
DOT regulations.

Urine vs. Oral Fluid 5-Panel Drug

Urine analysis is most often used for
5-panel drug testing. Urine testing can
test for drug use within a few days to
several weeks, depending on the specific

Saliva or Oral Fluid Testing, can test
for drug usage from a few hours to a
couple of days after drug use, which is
faster than Urine Testing. Oral Fluid
Testing is an alternative method that is
a non-invasive, easily administrable
method is growing in popularity. While
oral testing offers convenience, it may
not be as accurate as urine testing for
detecting certain drugs.

Accuracy, Prices, and Prevalence

Both urine and oral fluid tests have
proven reliable screening methods. Urine
testing generally offers a wider
detection window, making it more
suitable for detecting past drug use. In
specific circumstances like
post-accidents, oral fluid testing can
offer quicker results, which adds to its
usefulness. The average cost typically
falls between $75 to $100 per test.
It’s worth noting that some
employers may negotiate bulk pricing for
many tests.

5-Panel Drug Tests Procedure

The process of performing a 5-panel
drug test differs slightly based on it
bring a urine or oral test. Here is a
broad summary of each method:

Urine Test:

  1. The donor provides a urine sample in
    a sterile collection cup under the
    supervision of a test
  2. The sample is securely sealed and
    labelled to maintain the chain of
  3. The sample is forwarded to a
    laboratory after collection for
    further examination and
  4. In the laboratory, the sample
    undergoes an initial immunoassay
  5. If the screening results indicate the
    presence of drugs, a confirmation test
    using gas chromatography-mass
    spectrometry (GC-MS) or a similar
    technique is conducted to validate the
  6. A qualified laboratory professional
    then interprets the results.

Oral Fluid Test:

  1. The donor receives an oral fluid
    collection device, typically a swab or
  2. The donor places the swab/sponge in
    their mouth and collects saliva by
    rubbing it against their gums and
    inner cheek.
  3. The collection device is placed in a
    secure container or tube.
  4. The container is sent to a laboratory
    for analysis.
  5. The oral fluid sample is screened in
    the lab using an immunoassay or
    similar technique.
  6. A qualified laboratory professional
    interprets the results.

Cut-Off Levels For 5-Panel Drug

Cut-off levels are predetermined
concentrations set by the testing
laboratory. These levels determine the
minimum amount of each drug or
metabolite present in a sample to be
considered a positive result. Below are
the typical cut-off levels for urine and
oral fluid drug tests:

Urine Test Cut-off Levels (in nanograms
per milliliter, ng/mL):


Cut-off Level


300 ng/mL

Marijuana (THC)

50 ng/mL


2000 ng/mL


1000 ng/mL

Phencyclidine (PCP)

25 ng/mL

Oral Fluid Test Cut-off Levels (in
nanograms per milliliter, ng/mL):


Cut-off Level


30 ng/mL

Marijuana (THC)

4 ng/mL


30 ng/mL


50 ng/mL

Phencyclidine (PCP)

1 ng/mL

What Are Windows Of Detection For
5-Panel Drug Tests?

The detection windows for 5-panel drug
tests varies depending on multiple
factors, such as:

  • the drug being tested
  • the frequency of use
  • the type of sample collected

Here are general guidelines for urine
and oral fluid tests:

Urine Test:

  • Marijuana (THC): THC detection times
    in urine may vary from person to
    person; 30 days for chronic users, but
    typically 1-7 days for typical
  • Cocaine: 2-4 days
  • Opiates: 2-4 days
  • Amphetamines: 2-4 days
  • Phencyclidine (PCP): 7-14 days

Oral Fluid Test:

  • Marijuana (THC): Up to 24-48
  • Cocaine: Up to 48 hours
  • Opiates: Up to 48 hours
  • Amphetamines: Up to 48 hours
  • Phencyclidine (PCP): Up to 48

How Are The Results Of the 5-Panel Drug
Test Interpreted?

Interpreting the results of a 5-panel
drug test depends on whether it is a
lab-based or rapid test and the type of
sample used. Here’s a general

Lab-based Test:

  • Urine: The sample is sent to a
    laboratory, where trained
    professionals analyze it, and results
    are typically given in under 1-3
  • Oral Fluid: The sample is sent to a
    laboratory for analysis, and results
    are usually available within 1-2

Rapid Test:

  • Urine: A 5 panel rapid drug screen
    provides instant results, typically
    within a few minutes.
  • Oral Fluid: Rapid oral fluid tests
    also provide immediate results,
    usually within a few minutes.

It’s important to follow the
instructions provided by the testing
facility regarding the waiting time for
results to ensure accuracy.

What Results Can You Get?

The final report presents three
possible outcomes for each of the five
substances tested:

  • positive
  • Negative
  • Inconclusive

A “positive” result indicates
that the sample contains metabolites
above the test cutoff concentration,
implying drug use. However, false
positives can occur due to the presence
of chemicals similar to those the test
is designed to detect, such as certain
over-the-counter medications.

On the other hand, a
“negative” result means that
no drugs were detected, or the
substances found are below the test
cutoff level.

An “inconclusive” result
suggests that a definitive result could
not be obtained, which may result from
testing errors or a diluted sample,
possibly an attempt to pass the test.
Before sharing pre-employment test
results with the employer, a Medical
Review Officer (MRO), who is a licensed
physician trained and certified to
review lab test results, conducts a
thorough review.

In cases of questionable results, the
MRO may contact the candidate to discuss
potential factors affecting the results,
like prescribed medications or certain
foods. Alternatively, the MRO might
order confirmatory testing to eliminate
false positives. Once the review is
complete, employers receive the positive
or negative test certification, and
candidates have the option to dispute
the findings or seek further explanation
if needed.

The involvement of an MRO ensures a
comprehensive and impartial assessment
of the 5-panel drug test results,
promoting fairness and accuracy in the
evaluation process.

Practical Advice On How To Pass A
5-Panel Drug Test

To increase the likelihood of passing, International Society of
 suggests following these
practical tips:

  • Hydration

Ensure proper hydration by drinking
ample water before the test, which can
help dilute the concentration of drugs
in urine, potentially reducing the
chances of detection.

  • Avoid False Positives

Avoid consuming foods or medications
that may trigger false-positives.
Certain substances, like poppy seeds or
specific antibiotics, can interfere with
test results.

  • Exercise

Engaging in physical activity can help
metabolize drugs more quickly and may
reduce the detection window.

  • Detox Products

Consider using detoxification products
like Toxin Rid Program or Detoxify Mega
Clean NT for an instant detox effect.
These are designed to assist the body in
eliminating drug metabolites. The
products can help prepare for drug
tests, but their effectiveness may vary
depending on toxin exposure, body mass,
drug test type, etc.


Q1: Can a 5-panel drug test detect fake

A: Laboratories often employ advanced
techniques, such as checking
temperature, pH levels, and specific
gravity, to detect fake or substituted
urine. Many of them also claim that
Quick Fix (one of quite common options
whenit comes to buying synthetic urine
fir a drug test) will be detected, but
mostly they don’t. It’s
impossible to find relevant statistics
on this matter, but Reddit and Quora
users keep sharing their successful
stories of passing the test with
synthetic urine. So, we can say that it
is very risky, but may work.

Q2: How far back does a 5-panel urine
drug test go?

A: A 5-panel urine drug test can go
back within 3-7 days if it’s urine
test an d1-2 days – if it’s saliva
test. The time will vary based on
multiple factors, such as the specific
drug that is being tested and the
frequency of use.

Q3: How much does a urine drug test

A: The average price typically falls
between $75 to $100 per test. It’s
recommended to check with local testing
facilities or consult employers or
healthcare providers for accurate
pricing information.

Q4: How accurate are 5-panel drug

A: 5-panel drug tests done in certified
laboratories exhibit a high level of
accuracy in detecting drugs. But no test
is entirely infallible, and there is a
slight possibility of false-positive or
false-negative results occurring in rare

Q5: Can a 5-panel drug test be used for
legal purposes?

A: Yes, these tests are commonly used
for legal purposes such as
pre-employment drug screening,
probationary monitoring, and compliance
with regulatory requirements. The
results of these tests can be used to
make informed decisions regarding
employment, legal proceedings, or
ongoing monitoring.

The Bottom Line

The 5-panel drug test is a widely
utilized test for detecting common
illicit substances in urine or oral
fluid. Employers, legal authorities, and
organizations use this test to ensure a
drug-free environment.

By understanding the methods, cut-off
levels, detection windows, and
interpretation of results, individuals
can be better prepared for a 5-panel
drug test. While avoiding drug use
altogether is advisable, following
practical tips and utilizing detox
products like Toxin Rid may increase the
chances of obtaining a negative test

Implementing 5-panel drug tests
promotes employee health and well-being
by identifying and addressing substance
abuse issues in the workplace.

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