10 Panel Drug Test - A Paradigm Shift In Drug Testing

10 Panel Drug Test - A Paradigm Shift In Drug Testing


Here is an interesting fact! Employers are shifting from 5 panel to 10 panel as it tests a wide array of drugs, including prescription drugs and some synthetic opiates.

But why?  

With the increase in abuse of prescription drugs in the USA, employers have expanded their way of tracking their employees for drug abuse more keenly than ever. 

Here we have covered everything about 10 panel drug test, the drugs they test for, cut-off levels, what happens if you fail your test, and how to pass a 10-panel drug test and get placed in your dream job.

Table Of Contents:

What Is A 10 Panel Drug Test?

The ten panel drug test is the only test that looks both for illicit drugs and illicit use of prescription and OTC drugs.

Most drugs that a 10-Panel Drug Test can detect comes under Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances (CSA 1970). A 10-panel drug test checks for additional opiates like Oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc, apart from the major abusive drug metabolites, including PCP, THC, and COC.  

The 10-panel drug test was specifically created to test individuals on probation for amphetamines, benzodiazepines, opioids, THC, and PCP. 

As the abuse of prescription drugs emerged - especially during the opioid crisis, most employers widened their drug testing net from a standard 5 panel drug test for screening employees to a 10-panel drug test.

What Does A 10 Panel Drug Test Test For?

A 10-Panel Drug Test detects the following types of drugs or drug metabolites:

  1. Cocaine 
  2. Marijuana 
  3. PCP 
  4. Amphetamines 
  5. Opiates 
  6. Benzodiazepines 
  7. Barbiturates 
  8. Methadone 
  9. Propoxyphene 
  10. Quaaludes

How Is A 10-Panel Drug Test Done?

The ten panel drug test is conducted similarly to the five-panel drug test. Here are the steps on how the ten panel test is done:

  1. The sample is collected from the candidate using a sample collection cup. 
  2. The sample is initially tested for temperature and essential ingredients like urea, creatinine, etc. This is to ensure that the sample is not tampered with.
  3. The tester will use the 10-panel drug testing strip in the sample and let it for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Based on the preliminary results, the sample will be sent for a confirmation drug test - which includes - Immunoassay, Gas chromatography, or Mass Spectrometry test. 

The entire drug testing process is done on the drug testing guidelines and cut-off levels determined by SAMHSA. If you are positive for one or more drugs, your consumption of that drug(s) is above the cut-off level.

10-Panel Drug Test Cut-Off Levels

  • Amphetamines - 500 ng/ml
  • Benzodiazepines - 200 ng/ml
  • Cocaine - 150 ng/ml 
  • Opiates - 2000 ng/mL
  • Methadone - 200 ng/mL
  • Barbiturates - 200 ng/mL 
  • Methamphetamine - 500 ng/ml
  • Benzodiazepines - 200 ng/ml
  • Propoxyphene - 200 ng/ml
  • Phencyclidine - 25 ng/ml

What To Expect During The Test?

A 10-Panel Drug Test usually doesn't require you to spend a long time in the drug screening unit. You might be asked to complete some simple questions about your health, including your past drug use. If you are using prescription medicines, this is the time to inform the tester.

Then, you will need to provide a clean urine sample and hair sample for testing. The test might either be conducted at a laboratory or your home. If the 10-Panel Drug Test is performed at the laboratory, you will be given instructions on providing urine and hair samples. 

If the test is conducted in your home, you will likely have to provide the samples directly to a technician. The whole process could be finished within an hour or less. 

What To Expect After The Test?

You might get positive or negative drug test results. Sometimes, there is a possibility that you may get a false positive. If that is the case, do not panic. There are some tested ways to tackle your false positive drug test. Try that.

For example, if you test positive for opiates, benzodiazepines, or barbiturates, it might be because of prescription medication. Many employers will assist employees who test positive for certain drugs in 10-Panel Drug Tests. It can include rehabilitation programs and counseling services.

Most employers will let you know the results within a week or less. Positive results typically mean that you violated the company drug policy, but it could also mean that you have a medical problem. It is better to let know the MRO/ Employer about your medications before your drug test. 

10-Panel Drug Test For Employers And Employees

With the emergence of a competitive business environment, employers are more concerned about their company's reputation. Hence they prefer 10-panel drug testing for their employees to maintain a safe and productive workplace. 

Employers may also opt for a 10 panel drug test for other reasons, including workers' compensation, economic reasons, etc. 

For example, construction workers and safety professionals are required by some industries to have 10-panel drug testing every year. These companies often need their employees to undergo 10-panel drug testing before being hired and regularly (e.g., once per year) after that.

Your employer may conduct a 10 panel drug test with urine, hair, or saliva. Here is some information about it. 

10-panel urine drug test

A 10-panel urine drug test is the most common form of drug test conducted by probation officers, employment organizations, and employers. The drug detection time may go from 3 to 30 days based on certain factors like usage, age, metabolism, sex, etc.

If your 10 panel drug test is coming up, it is best recommended to check yourself with a home-based 10 panel drug testing kit to know your drug cut-off levels. 

Note: Your employer may conduct a lab drug test. So, it is recommended to avoid tampering techniques to avoid dire consequences.

Apart from a 10 panel urine drug test, there are different panel drug tests that an employer may opt for as per their company policies. 

10-Panel Saliva drug test kit

A 10-panel saliva drug test kit checks your saliva for traces of ten drugs above the cut-off levels. The 10-panel saliva drug test is relatively fast and simple to perform. It is ideal for individuals busy with their everyday routine and unable to leave their homes. The main features and benefits of this drug test are as follows:

  • A 10-panel saliva test is less invasive than a standard 5-panel drug test.
  • The test can be performed in the comfort of your home or office with little or no time commitment.
  • The 10-panel saliva drug test gives you the result in under 10 min.
  • This 10-panel saliva drug test provides in-depth information about your use of drugs.

10-Panel Hair Follicle Drug Test

A 10-panel hair follicle drug test is a test that checks your hair for traces of ten different drugs. It is an in-depth and specific type of drug testing that can detect drugs for up to 90 days. The main features and benefits of this drug test are as follows:

  1. A 10 panel hair follicle drug test can detect long-term substance abuse in your system.
  2. These 10-panel hair follicle drug test results can be used as evidence in court.
  3. The 10-panel hair follicle drug test is more accurate and specific than traditional urine tests.

Does A 10-Panel Drug Test Test For Alcohol?

No. A 10-panel drug test will not test for alcohol. It is a common misconception that a 10-panel drug test could detect alcohol because they both enter your bloodstream. The truth is that alcohol gets into your blood via your digestive system and is not subject to the same chemical reactions as drugs. 

Therefore, a urine or saliva test cannot detect alcohol. An alcohol breathalyzer can detect alcohol levels in your breath, but this will not be included in a 10-panel drug test.

What Happens If I Fail My 10-Panel Drug Test?

Failing a 10-panel drug test or getting a positive result may lead to mixed consequences. If your drug testing cut-off levels are higher for major illicit drugs, you may not get your job or get terminated (for employees). 

If you are positive for prescription drugs, some employers may have some laxative rules in which they will either hire you or assist you in rehabilitation. In some cases, employers will request a second sample for testing.

If the second sample is tested positive for drug use, employers have a right to terminate employment immediately. Also, if you fail or are positive for a drug test, you must seek help from an experienced substance abuse treatment center as soon as possible.

How To Pass A 10-Panel Drug Test?

The most common ways to pass a 10-panel drug test are as follows:

  • Abstain from using illicit drugs: One of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure that you pass a drug test is not to use drugs. The longer you go without using drugs, the less chance you will fail your test.
  • Detoxify before your drug test: Many detoxification products on the market claim to help remove traces of illicit drugs from your system and help you to pass a drug test. You can try cranberry or apple cedar vinegar. However, none of these products can remove all traces of drugs from your body quickly.
  • Multi-vitamin: A multi-vitamin can increase the number of nutrients in your body. Many believe this will help their body excrete drug metabolites more rapidly than normal. However, this is not always the case.
  • Exercise more: Exercise is a perfect way of increasing the rate at which your body excretes drug metabolites. The more you exercise and sweat, the easier it is for your body to eliminate toxins, including drug metabolites.
  • Drink lots of water: Drinking lots of water will help your body efficiently filter out drug metabolites. The more water you drink, the more comfortable it is for your body to remove drug metabolites from your system.

Final Words

The opioid crisis and the recent fentanyl abuse are pushing some employers to extend their drug testing panel to ensure workplace safety and productivity.

Your employer may use a ten-panel drug test to detect major illicit drugs and some prescription drugs. So, it is always better to stay alert and avoid abusing prescription drugs to pass your 10-panel drug test.

If you are using prescription drugs, do not forget to inform your employer or MRO. 


Does Phentermine Show Up On A 10-Panel Drug Test?

No. Phentermine is not a drug that is part of the standard 10-panel drug test panel. However, it can sometimes appear on a urine test as it is a stimulant. If you are using this drug, you should know that it can be abused like other drugs and lead to the same problematic side effects. 

A false positive may occur with this drug if it is not properly detoxified. Thus, following instructions and performing a proper detox before taking a 10-panel drug test is crucial.

Does Ambien Show Up On A 10-Panel Drug Test?

Ambien is a sedative that can be used to help people sleep. However, it has been known to cause adverse side effects in some users. Ambien's active ingredient is zolpidem. The liver metabolizes zolpidem into several compounds, which a 10-panel drug test can detect. 

However, the active ingredient of Ambien might be detected under Benzodiazepines, so if you are using Ambien, detox before taking your drug test.

Will Focalin Show Up On A 10-Panel Drug Test?

Focalin is a prescription stimulant used to treat ADHD. It is not a drug that is included in the typical 10-panel drug test. However, it might stay in your system for a long time. Focalin is metabolized by the body and can be detected in the urine for one to three days. It may also show up on hair follicle tests. 

If you use Focalin, know that it could show up as a false positive on your 10-panel drug test. Thus, it is recommended that you stop taking this drug before taking a urine drug test.

Does Methocarbamol Show Up On A 10-Panel Drug Test?

Methocarbamol is a drug used to treat headaches and muscle pain. The metabolite of methocarbamol might not show up on a 10-panel drug test and may remain in your system for one to two hours following ingestion. 

Also, methocarbamol is sometimes used as a recreational drug. Most drug screens used in the workplace will not test for this medication. 

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