Which Drugs are Detected by Urine Drug Tests?

Q: I own a small business and have been told that my insurance rates will decrease if I drug test my employees. I’d like to use urine drug tests, but I want to make sure the results will be sufficient. Can you explain which drugs are detected by this type of testing?

A: Urine drug screens are one of the most common ways to test for the presence of drugs. Many employers utilize these types of tests, especially before hiring a potential employee. Some employers also conduct random drug screens and post-accident testing. You can actually choose from several types of urine drug screens, including a 5 panel, 7 panel, 9 panel, and 10 panel. Each “panel” represents a particular set of drugs that the test screens for, such as marijuana, cocaine metabolite and PCP. The 5-panel screening is the most often used by employers, but you can opt for a more in-depth screening.

5 panel – marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine metabolite, opiates, PCP
7 panel – the 5 panel screening plus barbiturates and benzodiazepines
9 panel – the 7 panel screening plus propoxyphene and methadone
10 panel – the 9 panel screening plus methaqualadone

Often times it is an option to include a urine alcohol test with the panel as well for a small additional fee. Keep in mind that the window of detection for a urine screen is fairly limited depending on the drug and history of use. If you have any specific concerns it is important to discuss them with the counselor when you arrange for testing.