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The importance of drug testing programs cannot be emphasized enough. As an employer, it is necessary for you to implement drug testing policies in order to make sure that the workplace is safe, secure and efficient. That being said, there are several options for you to consider while implementing a drug testing program. There is a variety of different kinds of drug tests that are used, the most common of which is the urine drug test. With better and better drug testing kits coming forth to get more accurate results, there are different options to consider when you’re utilizing drug test kits for urine drug tests. This guide will explain different panel drug tests to help you decide which one will be the best for you to use for your drug testing program.

Panel Drug Testing – What Is It?

Different panel drug testing essentially entails checking for specific drugs in the urine of a subject. The presence of each drug in an appropriate amount will test positive for the drug linked to that panel. For instance, a 5 panel drug test is the most basic among the different options. It is able to detect 5 different drugs within a single specimen. Namely, it looks for the presence of these drugs:

  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Marijuana
  • Phencylcidine
  • Cocaine

Beyond The Basic Drug Test          

Of course, the 5 panel drug test is just the most basic drug test. It is not able to detect the wider range of drugs that people with substance abuse problems might use and therefore, it is not that effective. Higher panel drug tests like the 6 panel drug tests and 12 panel drug tests can detect the presence of a wider range of drugs in a person.

Essentially, with each number that the panel increases, you are getting the option of one more drug being tested for while conducting the urine drug test. Here is a look at different panel drug tests and the drugs that can be detected by them.

6 Panel Drug Tests

6 panel drug tests already detect the drugs mentioned in the 5 panel drug tests. They are also able to detect Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are very powerful psychoactive drugs that are typically used as prescription medication for the treatment of panic attacks and anxiety disorders. They are also very effective in dealing with seizures and treating the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse. You might have heard of some of the common benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax.

When these drugs are being abused, it can cause fatigue, dizziness and weakness in a person. This makes it necessary to conduct a 6 panel drug test when employees are handling sensitive equipment and heavy machinery at the job.

10 Panel Drug Tests

A 10 panel drug tests adds four more detectable substances to the list. Other than being able to detect marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine, opiates and benzodiazepines, here are the drugs that it is also able to detect:

  • Barbiturates
  • Quaaludes (methaqualone)
  • Propoxyphene
  • Methadone

Barbiturates are a sedative drug that is used to help fight insomnia and anxiety. It has an impact on the brain that is similar to alcohol as a depressant. They are frequently abused by people and have been known to be a choice of drug for suicidal people. This makes them very dangerous. These drugs inhibit a sense of extreme drowsiness and confusion in a person.

Quaalude is the name for the drug called methaqualone. This drug is essentially a muscle relaxant which is used as an aphrodisiac and a recreational muscle relaxant. While it is no longer frequently abused in the country, it still serves better for companies to test for the use of this drug. You might have heard a mention of the drug in popular culture through the movie “Wolf of Wall Street”. It depicts the effects of the drug and how badly it can debilitate a person. It’s always safer to test for drug abuse with methaqualone through a comprehensive high panel drug test like a 10 panel drug test.

12 Panel Drug Test

A 12 panel drug test adds more drugs to the list that can be detected through urine drug tests. The 12 panel drug test makes for one of the most comprehensive means to detect any kind of substance abuse to ensure a safe working environment. It is able to point out substance abuse in any employees and alerts the employers so that they can take the appropriate course of action to deal with the issue.

The 12 panel drug test adds on:

  • Percoset
  • Ecstasy

Both of these are specialty drugs that cannot be detected by lower panel drug tests. These are also popular choices of drugs with people that have substance abuse problems. 12 panel drug tests are also more thorough in being able to detect the opiates and pain killers, which lower panel drug tests can miss out on. Typically used in industries that carry a lot of responsibility, 12 panel drug tests are by far the most effective method of testing for substance abuse.

The reason why they are considered to be more effective than lab based testing is that they save time when it comes to detecting the specialty drugs people use. Standard lab testing cannot detect the use of ecstasy in a person. It requires secondary tests which cost a lot more for the employer to use and they take more time in producing results.

12 panel drug tests are able to detect the use of all these drugs within a matter of minutes after submitting the specimens.

Propoxyphene is also known as Davron. This is a very addictive narcotic pain killer. This drug is not only dangerous because of the numbing effects that it has on its own, it also interacts dangerously with alcohol or other medication present within the system. It has several side effects for the substance abuser, including fainting, slowed heartbeat, confusion and it can even cause seizures. The dangers because of the effects of propoxyphene abuse at the workplace cannot be emphasized enough. A comprehensive high panel drug test like the 12 panel drug test can help employers determine the role of employees better in the company if they are in so much pain that they have to resort to this narcotic pain killer.

Choosing The Right Panel Drug Test

A lot of companies do not have legal requirements that mandate testing beyond the 6 panel drug tests. This means that if your company belongs to an industry where safety is not that much of a concern and employees are working in a low risk environment, conducting a 6 panel drug test will serve you just fine.

That being said, choosing the right high panel drug test requires several factors to be taken into consideration:

Corporate Environment

When it comes to the corporate environment, the considerations for high panel drug tests might be different from other industries. The employees working in the corporate environment are typically high-paid employees with white collar jobs. Substance abuse is not limited to any pay grade. It can just mean that the choice of substance might get a little fancier as you go higher in terms of salary slips that employees take home.

Employees with high salary white collar jobs are more likely to resort to abusing designer drugs and specialty drugs. The stockbroker culture in the 80s is the biggest example to consider. Substance abuse involving the use of cocaine was rampant back in those days and it continues to be a problem even now. The recent times have seen additional drugs coming into the mix as well. Provigil, Adderall and Ritalin are just a few of the new drugs being abused in the corporate culture

High panel drug tests like the 12 panel drug test and 10 panel drug tests make for effective methods to discourage drug abuse in corporate culture.

Industry Specific Factors

Different industries have different requirements when it comes to the drug testing needs. The Department of Transportation, for instance, requires the 5 panel drug test as part of the hiring process, an annual drug test and a random drug test every year. Opting for a 6 panel drug test would be a better option since it can detect more drugs.

The construction industry entails high risk. Even if there is nobody involved with substance abuse while on the job, there is a high likelihood of workplace accidents. Employees are operating heavy machinery in a dangerous working environment. The use of any drugs can impair workers and increase the risk of accidents in an already dangerous working environment. Conducting a high panel drug test like the 10 panel drug test or the 12 panel drug test is mandatory in a high risk environment.

Final Thoughts

Two of the biggest issues that plagued the aspect of implementing drug testing programs in the past were the wastage of time and the highly expensive lab testing procedures. Drug testing apparatus has come a long way with the advent of instant drug tests like the ones available at Ovus Medical. They provide accurate and reliable results for drug tests within a matter of minutes. Additionally, the expense for conducting these drug tests is significantly lower considering the fact that only the drug testing cups need to be used. There is no transportation of samples to and from the lab. It can all be done in-house.

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