What is the Most Common Drug Test Used for Employment?

Pre Employment Drug Test

A pre-employment drug screening is carried out to identify whether a job applicant uses illegal drugs or abuses alcohol. It can also be applicable to employees who are returning to their jobs after an illness or accident.

In this case, it’s also known as a pre-placement drug test. Pre-employment drug testing is a common requirement for potential hires, and a hiring process may be conditional on the applicant passing the test.

Continue reading to know more about what is a 5 panel drug test and what are the common procedures regarding the subject.

Common specimens used for drug testing

Depending on the drugs that the employer decides to test, drug test specimens can range from urine, hair, perspiration, or saliva. The most typically tested specimen is urine. Urinalysis is used to detect drug and alcohol usage up to one week earlier.

All workplaces have access to urine testing, and only urine collection is authorized under federally regulated protocols. Unlike other types, such as the more expensive hair drug test, it has a shorter window of detection.

What is a 5 panel drug test?

All drug tests consist of panel series. Each panel represents a specific set of drugs for testing. The most typical drug test performed by government entities and private employers is a standard 5-panel drug urine test.

So, what is a 5 panel drug test, and what does it look for? A 5-panel drug test looks for widely abused substances such as.

Methamphetamines (meth, speed, crank, ecstasy)

Methamphetamine, sometimes known as “meth,” is a kind of amphetamine having a similar chemical base. Meth can be available in crystalline or powdered form. This deadly addiction causes severe and hostile reliance. Meth kills dopamine receptors over time, making it hard to sense pleasure.

THC (cannabinoids, marijuana, hash)

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is found naturally only in marijuana plants and in synthetic forms such as Marinol. Smoking marijuana typically results in exhilaration and relaxation for users, but paranoia and anxiety are also potential side effects.

Extended use can have a number of detrimental cognitive effects, including an altered perception of space and time and also a lack of motivation.

Cocaine (coke, crack)

Cocaine is normally called a white powder and is sometimes blended with other similar-looking powders, such as baking soda, to produce false filler. The coca plant’s leaves are used to make cocaine, a processed narcotic.

Cocaine is used as a stimulant by those who must stay up late, such as those who must work midnight shifts or attend all-night parties. It also acts as an appetite suppressant and can speed up severe weight loss.

Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)

Opiates come from the opium poppy plant. Opiates are exclusively sedatives that cause the user to feel more euphoric and less pain.

Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)

A synthetic drug called phencyclidine is generally manufactured in illegal labs or stolen from veterinary sources. It comes in two different forms: powder and a transparent, yellowish liquid.

The drug can be consumed in many various ways, including through smoking, injecting, snorting, and oral ingestion. Phencyclidine, popularly known as PCP or angel dust, is a recreational drug used to cause deadly “out-of-body experiences” and hallucinations.

It is legally produced as an animal tranquillizer. Extreme PCP use can result in long-lasting states like schizophrenia.

What common reasons for conducting a drug test

Businesses frequently do pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and periodic drug tests. Pre-employment testing is the most typical drug test for employees.

In most cases, following a conditional job offer, companies demand pre-employment drug testing. Employers in sectors where worker safety is a concern should take particular care to avoid hiring applicants who fail the test.

Most states permit pre-employment drug testing, but some also call for notifying the candidate. Reviewing the respective state’s laws is essential for this reason.

Most common pre-employment drug test

A 5-panel urine test is the most typical pre-employment drug test. In the above section, details are already discussed regarding what is a 5 panel drug test.

Pre-employment testing, however, does not follow any set guidelines. Employers should create and implement a pre-employment drug test policy that outlines which tests they will perform.


Health Street advises companies to conduct a five-panel drug test to check for the most often overused and harmful substances. These drugs pose a risk to both the user and the workplace, ranging from deadly dependency-related issues to cognitive decline.

With the use of a 5-panel drug test, companies can identify those substances and decide how to enforce their drug-free working policies.

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