NIDA Drug Test Cut-Off Levels: All About NIDA Drug Test

NIDA Drug Test Cut-Off Levels: All About NIDA Drug Test


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is an oversight agency involved in federally regulated workplace drug testing and set drug testing cut-off for various drugs. The NIDA drug screening guidelines are valuable for employers, educational institutions, and other organizations to maintain the safety and security of their employees, students, or other public members. 

This article outlines NIDA’s drug screening cut-off levels, how they vary from person to person according to gender and age, what constitutes an acceptable test cutoff level based on the individual's habits and lifestyle, and several other factors, as well as some additional resources.

Table Of Contents:

What Is NIDA?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a federal organization established by the United States Government. Its stated mission is "to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction." Additionally, the government of the United States provides a significant amount of funding to the NIDA to ensure that its research is up-to-date and applicable to the organization's stated mission.

Specifically, NIDA is tasked with growing and supplying marijuana for research purposes. The institute has conducted numerous studies on marijuana and its effects, which researchers worldwide have utilized to support a variety of arguments.

Moreover, NIDA 5 pertains to 5 drugs of abuse certain to examine in terms of a drug-free workplace by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In the 1980s, in conjunction with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), NIDA established a series of drug screening cutoff levels that tell when a person may be using illegal drugs. 

What Is NIDA Drug Test?

The NIDA drug test is often a 5-panel test that helps to determine if there are any major illegal drugs in the system. The 5-panel drug tests look for MMJ, Cocaine, Amphetamines, PCP, and Opiates. Additionally, some companies may conduct a 10-panel drug test looking for other benzodiazepines and other synthetic opiates. 

How Does It Operate?

  • The NIDA drug test would be most probably a 5 panel urine drug test using a drug test kit. 
  • The preliminary test is an immunoassay test that may be conducted in your work location, or in a lab at the convenience of the employer. 
  • The confirmation test is conducted in a lab that will be a GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry Test) that can clearly identify the drug consumption above the cut-off levels.

Where Can I Find A NIDA Drug Testing Center Near Me?

There is no such NIDA drug testing center. But you can be sure of a testing center or a lab in the United States that conducts the drug test as per their guidelines. It is available in many locations, including drug stores or local businesses. 

UShealthtesting provides the best drug and alcohol testing services for employers, schools, and clinics. The UShealthtesting is a resource for anyone looking to use the testing near them ( within 5 miles) and can expect immediate and precise results.

The company's website provides a large selection of drug testing products and services, including drug screening tests that are FDA approved and SAMSHA certified. UShealthtesting also provides drug testing assistance for clients throughout the nation. 

Their job is to help you choose the correct type of test, from urine tests to hair follicle testing, to meet your needs. The results are always returned quickly, and they give you some of the most accurate results available.

How Do NIDA Cutoff Levels Work?

The NIDA 5 Cutoff Levels are the minimum amounts of the compounds involved in the test. The NIDA 5 will test for THC, cocaine, opiates, amphetamine, and pentathol. Different drugs can be detected in a wide range of concentrations, depending on the drug and testing method used. 

These are the levels set by the U.S government as per the recommendations and suggestions of NIDA, and they can give you an idea of what drugs are in the system. The government sets these levels because they use their science and research to help inform policymakers, but the levels may vary from one person to another. 

The NIDA 5 Cutoff Levels are not always right for every person you are testing. It can occur because of the frequency of use or other substances in the body. If you are an employer and about to test your employees or candidates, it is best to consult with a doctor to determine what type of test is necessary and how it should be used before drawing your drug testing policies. But make sure you join the SAMHSA Drug-Free Workplace Program, which might give you many financial and insurance benefits for conducting drug tests in your company.

The main idea behind a NIDA 5 Cutoff Level is that it helps monitor what potential employees are consuming and whether or not they will be able to do their jobs effectively. Moreover, the purpose of NIDA 5 cutoff levels are as follows:

  • To help ascertain the extent of drug or alcohol abuse in a workplace
  • To aid in determining whether or not someone is fit to work
  • To assist in assigning critical tasks to individuals with the ability to perform them without impairment
  • To protect designated drivers and other employees who are in a "safety-sensitive" position
  • In the case of students at a school or other institution, to help ensure that the school's safety is not compromised

What Are NIDA Test Cutoff Levels For Drugs And Drug Metabolites?

  • Marijuana (THC), 50 ng/ml
  • Opiates, 300 ng/ml
  • Cocaine (COC), 300 ng/ml in the urine and 150 ng/ml in the hair
  • Amphetamines, 1000 ng/ml in the urine (excluding methamphetamine) and 1000ng/mg in the hair
  • MDMA: 50ng/mL of MDMA metabolite MDA (para-methyl-amphetamine) urine
  • PCP: 1.0 ng/mL in the urine
  • Barbiturates: 5.0 ng/mL in the urine
  • Benzodiazepine: 50 ng/mL of benzodiazepine metabolites (Valium, Librium, Xanax and others) in urine.

The NIDA 5 Cutoff Levels leave some wiggle room for error and confuse what is present in the body. The levels are based on research and science and are not always right for a specific individual. 

The NIDA 5 Cutoff Levels do not always correspond to someone's system, but they are commonly used as a basis for employment and other decisions. The confirmation test service will help you understand these levels and how they relate to your specific situation. 

The cutoff levels may vary from person to person based on the following:

  1. If a person has used alcohol and drugs simultaneously, the test will show alcohol in your system. The level of alcohol will often be higher than the level of other substances.
  2. If a person's drug usage is very frequent or has used many different types of drugs, then it is likely that there will be other substances in their body. It may cause a higher number of cutoff levels.
  3. If a person has used drugs consistently for a long time, the cutoff levels are likely higher as the body builds up toxins. If they have used more than one drug, it is more likely that there will be multiple substances in the body.
  4. If a person has used medications or other drugs, the body will process them differently. The tests will show traces of those substances as well. 
  5. Person genetics may affect drug metabolism and is why there is no one standard for all
  6. The type of drug that has been taken is also going to have an impact on the cutoff level. Some drugs will not be detected at certain levels, and some will stay in the body longer.

How To Read NIDA 5 Cutoff Levels?

To understand the NIDA 5 cutoff levels and how they will be used, you need to understand the numbers. They can be confusing at first, but you need to know how they work and how they relate to your situation.

The initial thing you will notice is that there are two numbers in some of the tests. The first number will represent the cutoff level in urine, while the second represents the cutoff level in hair follicles.

The first number will tell you how much of the drug or drug metabolite is in your urine. For example, for this to be considered a clear positive, the number needs to be greater than 50 ng/ml. 

If your body has 10 ng/ml in the urine and 50 ng/ml in the urine, it will not be considered a positive result. The second number will tell you how much of the drug or drug metabolite is in your hair follicles. 

For example, for this to be considered a clear positive, the number needs to be greater than 300 ng/ml. If your body has 300 ng/ml in the hair follicle and 50 ng/ml in urine, it will not be a positive result.


The NIDA 5 Cutoff levels are not always right for everyone, but they are often used as a basis for employment and other significant progressive decisions. The NIDA 5 Cutoff Levels may vary from one person to another, depending on the type of drug usage. 

However, the NIDA drug screening services can help you understand the levels and relate to your specific situation. These cutoff levels need to be used in conjunction with a full assessment to decide accurately.


What constitutes an acceptable cutoff level? Do I need to be above the NIDA 5 cutoff levels?

This level is for most employers and will be sufficient for most people. It's a general level that can be applied to most situations if you don't exceed it. Some situations may require more specific policies and procedures, so make sure you get in touch with us to see what's available in your particular case.

Are there any exceptions to the NIDA drug cutoff levels that negate my positive result?

Yes, if you take certain medications or have recently taken them, they may appear in your system during a screening. There are also other substances besides drugs that can also trigger false positives.

What is a confirmatory drug test?

A confirmatory drug test is a secondary test that will help you determine if the primary screening was accurate or not. It will also give you an estimate about how long the drug stayed in your system, allowing insight into when you used it and whether or not you have been using it regularly. 

Confirmatory drug testing is a more in-depth test that will get to the bottom of what drug or drugs you have been using and the current level in your system. It can help determine if you are a casual smoker or an abuser, and it can also show exactly when you are ready to pass a pre-employment test. 

Can I be below the NIDA 5 Cutoff levels and still pass a drug test?

Yes, you can pass a drug test even with below the level. However, please remember that the NIDA 5 Level is not a standard but a broad range of levels that it can fall into. It will also depend on the kind of drug used and can vary from one person to another.

What is the NIDA quick screen?

The NIDA Quick Screen is an established device designed to help providers screen adults for substance use. The display inquires whether or not a participant has used drugs (mood-altering, illegal, or prescription for non-medical reasons), alcohol, or tobacco products within the past year and how regularly those materials were used. 

It can be used to give an overview of the type of drugs a person has used in the past 12 months to check if a participant's history provides any indication that they may have been impacted by drug use.

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