As you might have assumed, based on the name, a 10 panel drug test is detects ten of the most commonly used and abused drugs, including amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, hydrocodone, marijuana (THC), methadone, methaqualone, methamphetamines, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), and propoxyphene. This is more comprehensive than the panel required by the Department of Transportation for DOT drug testing, which includes an additional four semi-synthetic opioids—oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, which are also known by their brand names OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, and Exalgo®.
Employers that are not bound by the Department of Transportation regulations may perform non-DOT drug testing, and those who use this particular drug panel do so because it’s comprehensive, cost effective, and detects many of the drugs that are more commonly abused in today’s workplace.
The 10 panel drug test is available for the urine, hair follicle, or mouth swab methods. All three testing methods are extremely accurate at drug detection.
- Positive indicates that drugs were detected.
- Negative equals no drug detection.
- Inconclusive means there wasn’t a positive or negative result.
Unless required by regulations to be specific, you are free to choose a testing method.
Urine drug test
The urine test has always been the primary choice for employee drug testing. It is the method used by federally regulated employers. Not only is it the most cost-effective choice, but it is also the method employees expect if they hear the words “drug test.”
Most people have no problem providing a urine sample for the test. One of the exceptions would be people who suffer from shy bladder syndrome. It can be an excruciating process for them to produce the one and a half ounces necessary for the specimen.
If following a drug-free workplace protocol, the test subject is provided something to drink and remains on site for up to three hours. If they have not been able to after that time, they are free to leave. The technician reports the test as incomplete. It may or may not be rescheduled depending on company policy.
Usually, the testing process does not take long. The test subject reports to the site and identifies himself. Then, is advised of the procedure and escorted to the restroom. After providing the sample, the test subject completes the documentation process and is out the door.
At the laboratory, an immunoassay test is the first step. If this test concludes a positive result, a second test, called the gas chromatography/mass spectrometry confirms the first test. It also identifies the specific drug(s) used.
Detection times vary from a few days to a month depending on the type of drug.
Employers know the results within a few days.
Mouth swab drug test
This testing method is more expensive than the urine test. At 72 hours max, it has a shorter detection period, but employers find them useful for random, post-accident, or reasonable suspicion testing. The employee can not deny having used drugs very recently.
As the technology evolves, mouth swabs are gaining popularity with law enforcement. They can immediately test drivers they believe may be under the influence of drugs. And, some mouth swabs can show drug and alcohol results on the spot.
A sterile gauze mouth swab saturated with the test subjects saliva completes the test. Granted, it takes longer than the swab for strep at the doctor’s office, but in a matter of minutes, the employee is back to work. Not all employers choose to have immediate results, but even if sent to the lab the turn around is quick.
Hair follicle drug test
There are no actual hair follicles involved with this test. The drug metabolites find their way into the hair follicles. They grow out into the hair shaft leaving a permanent record of drug use. This test has a 90-day detection period. No matter what drug used, there will be a record of it.
The test is the least invasive of the three methods. The technician cuts a small amount of hair from a nonvisible spot on the head. The hair is sealed and sent off to the lab for testing. Only about one and a half inches of hair is necessary to test for the 90 days.
This test is the most expensive and the results aren’t back for about a week, but many employers are taking a look at hair follicle testing. In fact, the DOT plans to switch to this method as soon as it completes the chain of command.
What does a 10 panel drug test test for?
The following drugs are typically included in this panel because they present a tremendous risk of abuse, potential to induce severe psychological or physical dependence, and are some of the most often abused drugs.
*Note: Some employers, labs, and/or test kits may include different drugs, so it’s important to confirm if the drugs you want to test for are included on the test that will be conducted.
Amphetamines usually come in pill form, and are sometimes crushed by illegal drug users to be snorted for a quick and more intense high. This drug is frequently found in prescription ADHD and ADD treatment medications such as Adderall and Ritalin.
Amphetamine also acts as a central nervous system stimulant and an appetite suppressant, but isn’t as powerful as some drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine. Instead of spike in energy as produced by cocaine, amphetamines simply enable the user to remain awake, alert, and focused. That’s why this popular, yet potentially lethal drug is often used by high school and college students.
This is a Schedule II drug due to its high risk for abuse and potential to induce severe psychological or physical dependence. While illegal recreationally, it is available by prescription for the treatment of particular medical conditions.
Barbiturates are available in pill form, and like many drugs in this form, it is sometimes crushed and snorted to more quickly achieve a more powerful high. This drug is rarely prescribed today except in rare circumstances, and is never prescribed for use outside of hospital setting.
Barbiturates are a central nervous system depressant that have been used to treat anxiety and seizure disorders, though they have been mostly replaced by benzodiazepines. This powerful narcotic produces a powerful sedative effect that while dangerous on its own, is magnified exponentially when combined with other drugs.
This is a Schedule II drug because of its high risk for abuse and potential to induce severe psychological or physical dependence.
Benzodiazepines are a powerful and addictive prescription medication frequently prescribed today to treat anxiety and seizure disorders.
Acting as a central nervous system depressant, benzodiazepines can cause a dangerous slowing of respiration when taken together with other drugs, resulting in death. This powerful narcotic also creates an intense physical dependence, which may lead to severe withdrawal effects.
This is a Schedule IV drug because of its high risk for abuse and potential to induce severe psychological or physical dependence.
Cocaine has been glamorized by Hollywood for years across a wide variety of genres, and it’s most often seen in the form of a white powder that can be snorted, smoked, or even dissolved and injected. This outrageously addictive and dangerous drug is processed from the leaves of the coca plant using a variety of toxic chemicals during the manufacturing process.
As a powerful stimulant, cocaine is popular with people who want to stay up for a long time such as an overnight work shift, drivers, or all night parties. It also acts as an appetite suppressant, often causing rapid weight loss.
This is a Schedule IV drug because of its high potential for abuse and likelihood to cause severe psychological or physical dependence.
Hydrocodone is a powerful semi-synthetic opioid painkiller that has been over-prescribed for years, and is only recently getting the scrutiny that it deserves. It is manufactured in tablets or capsules which are taken orally, but addicts often crush and snort this drug for a more intense and more dangerous high.
Hydrocodone relieves pain by binding pain receptors (opioid receptors) in the central nervous system, which diminishes pain signals in the brain. It also creates feelings of euphoria and elation, which is a large reason that it has such intense addictive properties.
This is a Schedule II drug because of its high potential for abuse and likelihood to cause severe psychological or physical dependence.
Marijuana is almost always falsely portrayed as a safe and fun way to relax, increase creativity, and entertain yourself, those portrayals are not factual. Users most commonly smoke this drug, resulting a strong and unique aroma, but also may be vaporized, refined into an oil, eaten, or brewed into a tea.
Despite having been legalized in multiple states, it still poses a substantial risk in the workplace because it impairs users, causing delayed reaction time, reduced coordination, and poor judgment.
This is still recognized by the Federal government as a Schedule I drug with no medicinal uses, however, some US states have recognized perceived medical uses, and allow legal prescription of marijuana. Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have also legalized marijuana recreationally, but many employers still test for it in a 10 panel drug test.
Methadone was created by German doctors during World War II, and was once was used to treat people with extreme pain. Today, it is used in treatment for an addiction to heroin or narcotic painkillers, and is available in tablet, powder, or a liquid form.
Like all opiates, methadone wildly addictive, and produces dangerous side effects, including drowsiness, lightheadedness, fainting, and many others.
This is a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse and likelihood to cause severe psychological or physical dependence.
Methaqualone is a powerful sedative that was once used for similar purposes as barbiturates, until it was rescheduled. Known by the brand name, Quaalude, it was popular in the club scene through the 1970-1980s, but is relatively rare today.
This drug is a sedative and hypnotic medication, and a member of the quinazolinone class, which causes the users blood pressure to drop and their breathing and pulse rates slow, leading to a state of deep relaxation, but when taken in higher doses, these effects can be fatal.
This is a Schedule I drug due to its high potential for abuse and likelihood to cause severe psychological or physical dependence.
Methamphetamine is a significantly more powerful and damaging variant of amphetamine, which has been popularized in television shows like Breaking Bad. Most people are more familiar with this drug’s street names—meth, or crystal meth. Methamphetamine typically comes in a powdered or in a crystallized form, usually in tiny glass vials or plastic Ziplock bags. Since a significant percentage of meth in America is manufactured in illegal home laboratories, it is often difficult to establish a standard of ingredients or potency.
A methamphetamine user experiences an immediate rush of euphoria, along with a tremendous increase in energy and focus. After the initial effects have worn off, the user will need a larger dose to reach the same high the next time. This drug’s dangerous potential for addiction coupled with a quickly growing tolerance for larger doses produces a powerful and violent dependence and risk of overdose. Long-term use of meth will damage, and usually even even destroy dopamine receptors, which makes it impossible to feel pleasure.
This is a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse and likelihood to cause severe psychological or physical dependence.
Opiates (and semi-synthetic opioids) are derived from the opium poppy plant. The opiate base is used to manufacture both illegal drug such as heroin, as well as pharmacutical painkillers such as morphine and hydrocodone. Opiate drugs typically come in pill form, which can be swallowed, but as a user progresses down the path of addiction, they may resort to crushing them, to be snorted, smoked, or even injected. Opiates also include heroin, which may be snorted, smoked, or even injected.
America is currently in the midst of a national crisis—an opiate epidemic that has caused over 49,000 in 2017, and has damaged, perhaps irreparably, the lives of exponentially more. In addition to the goal of reducing severe pain, opiates also create a rush of endorphins, creating a powerful sense of euphoria. This makes them highly addictive.
Since there are legitimate medical uses for opiates for treating patients post surgery and those with sever injuries, different types are scheduled differently by the Department of Drug Enforcement (DEA). For example, while heroin is a Schedule II, while is Oxycodone is a Schedule 2 drug.
Phencyclidine (PCP or angel dust)
Phencyclidine is typically manufactured synthetically in illicit labs, or simply stolen from veterinary supplies, and comes in either a powdered form, or in a translucent yellowish liquid. Users can snort, smoke, or even inject this drug.
This powerful drug has a legitimate use in the veterinary field as a powerful animal tranquilizer, and is also known by its street names, PCP or angel dust. It’s used recreationally to induce hallucinations, superhuman strength, and dangerous “out of body” experiences. Severe cases of PCP use have documented extended states of impairment similar to a schizophrenic episode.
Because of its medical use, Phencyclidine is labeled as a Schedule II narcotic with no legal use for humans, categorized as an extremely dangerous drug with substantial side effects, with PCP related hospital visits having increased by over than 400% between 2005-2011.
Propoxyphene is a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant, but is weaker than other opiates/opioids like morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone.
This drug’s side effects include lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness. It can also depress breathing, impair thinking, and the physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery.
This is a Schedule IV drug due to its high potential for abuse and likelihood to cause severe psychological or physical dependence.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does everybody drug test now?
No. Not all employers test for drug use.But the majority do because maintaining a drug-free workplace is a way to ensure a safe work environment.
Will the mouth swab turn colors if I test positive?
Some mouth swabs do show immediate results, but the majoritygo out to a lab for testing. The results are speedy and are back in a couple of days.
How long are drugs detected in my system?
It depends on the testing method your employer uses. The hair follicle test yields results for 90 days, up to 30 for the urine test, and the mouth swab test up to 72 hours. Detection times vary depending on the drug for urine and mouth swab. But the hair test shows all drug use for 90 days.
I heard there is a breathalyzer for marijuana now. Is that true?
Several companies are in the testing phases. A THC detecting breathalyzer will be a benefit to law enforcement and employers in states that are legalizing marijuana. This will enable them to know whether or not a person is currently impaired
If I drink lots of water before my urine test, will it come back negative?
If your urine is exceptionally diluted, it will probably come back with an inconclusive result.
I have a shy bladder, and I know this drug test is not going to “go” well. What do I do?
Lots of people have this problem. Talk to your HR department. There may be another method in place for situations like yours. If not, they may work with you to reach a solution, i.e., making a change in that protocol! Good luck!
My doctor prescribed my pain medication. Can he write me something that will be accepted by my employer if I get pulled for a random?
Nope. Drug-free is drug-free. If you are taking medication and a drug test pops positive, your employer will follow the company procedures set in place.
Marijuana is legal in my state now, so how come my employer says they will not remove it from the drug test?
If the DOT mandates them to drug test, they have no choice in the matter. But, even if they are not, the majority of employers plan to keep marijuana on the test panel because a stoned employee is a risk to themselves and others.
Ready to learn more or schedule a test?