Why Do Employers Go For A 12-Panel Drug Test?

Why Do Employers Go For A 12-Panel Drug Test?


Drug abuse in the United States is increasing periodically, pushing employers to move their focus from a standard 5-panel to a much more comprehensive panel. 

The 12 panel drug test help employers check drug abuse of major illicit drugs, expanded opiates, and prescription drugs. It is scarier, but it is not time to panic but to be precautionary.

Learn more about the 12 panel drug screening, how far it can test the drugs, what happens if you fail, and how to pass your 12 panel drug test.

Table Of Contents:

What Is A 12-Panel Drug Test?

A 12-panel drug test is a comprehensive drug test that checks for a wide array of drugs, including illicit, prescription, and OTC drugs. Like a 5 panel drug test, the twelve-panel is also cut-off based, which predicts drug usage above SAMHSA’s pre-determined cut-off levels. 

As the name suggests, the 12 panel drug test checks for 12 major illicit drugs. It differs from the 10 panel drug test by including prescription painkillers and expanded opiates which will help employers to trace drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, etc.  

The employer may use a drug testing strip for a preliminary drug test and lab drug testing for a confirmation test.

What Does A 12-Panel Drug Test For?

A 12-panel tox screen is a CLIA-waived drug test used to detect drug use of 12 major drugs notified below.

  1. Cocaine
  2. THC
  3. PCP
  4. AMP & MAMP
  5. Opiates (Both Natural and Synthetic)
  6. Propoxyphene
  7. Methadone
  8. Benzodiazepines
  9. Barbiturates
  10. Meperidine
  11. Tramadol
  12. Oxycodone

Note: The 12 panel drug test is customizable. So, your employer might also customize the drugs mentioned above with other illicit drugs.

How Far Back Does The 12-Panel Drug Test Go?

It depends on the type of sample and the testing method your employer may choose. The drug metabolites might stay in your system for 2 to 5 weeks in urine, 1 to 2 weeks (maximum) in your saliva, and 9 to 12 weeks in your hair. 

Several other factors come into consideration when it comes to drug detection. It includes age, metabolism, sex, gender, amount of drugs consumed, etc.

If you are an occasional drinker and do not abuse prescription medicines, the drug metabolites might stay in your body for a week or two. If you are a heavy abuser, the drug metabolites might stay longer.

Note: Avoid combined usage of two or more illicit and prescription drugs as it would tremendously affect your health, leading to dire consequences.

How To Read A 12-Panel Drug Test?

Interpreting drug test results might seem like a Himalayan task, but it is not. There are two ways that you can interpret a 12-panel tox screen result.

First, make sure the kit is working. You can do that by checking the Control Region. If you can see the red line in the C region, it is understood that the kit is working fine.

  1. Positive result: If the 12 panel drug testing kit shows a specific color - red next to the test line (T region) corresponding to the drug, it should be understood that you are positive for that particular drug.
  2. Negative result: If you cannot find a red line in the T region corresponding to the drug, it is sure that the results are negative. 

In some cases, you could get false positive results. This might be due to improper sample collection, storage, sample contamination, and undetected cross-reactivity.

12 Panel Drug Screening For Employers And Employees

Employers may choose a 12 panel test for specific jobs that require direct communication with the public. They may include applicants and employees in protection forces, transportation sector jobs, etc. 

Sometimes, public employers and some private ones may go for 12 panel tox screening if the state requires them to do so. This can happen if the state changes its drug testing policies.

The 12 panel drug test helps organizations keep workers safe and reduce the liability of their employees and the organization. Most times, employers may opt for a Urinalysis, but they may also go for saliva or hair samples. Here are the most popular drug screening methods

Urine Drug Test

A urinalysis is a standard form of drug test conducted to identify abusive drug metabolites in the system. It is effective and provides accurate results within 3 to 5 minutes of its testing. From collection to testing, it is easier than a hair drug test. 

The tester will collect the sample using the collection cup and check for optimum urine temperature before testing it. Once the temperature and ingredients are accurate, the urine is tested for drugs by dipping the kit inside the urine for 3 to 5 minutes. 

If it is positive, the tester will send it for confirmation testing in the lab. If it is positive again, the results will be moved on to the MRO (Medical Review Officer), who will then analyze the results and enquire the candidate results.

Saliva Drug Test

The saliva drug test involves the collection of a saliva sample from the buccal cavity region of the mouth using a swab. This swab will be tested for drug metabolites.

The saliva drug test can only be used for short-time drug abuse detection; hence, it can track drug abuse for 2 to 3 weeks. This is the most required drug testing method after the urinalysis as it provides cheaper, faster, and more accurate results without any necessity for privacy requirements. 

Also, it is the least invasive type of drug test as it does not require collecting or handling personal bodily fluids other than the saliva specimen.

What Happens If I Fail My 12 Panel Drug Test?

Failing a 12 panel drug test might impact your career. Positive twelve drug test results in a 12 panel test can be used as evidence in Court. If you are applying for child custody in court, the CPC may require a drug test from you. If it is a 12 panel tox screen, you will have to be free of prescription drugs to pass the test.

Failing a 12 panel pre-employment drug test might lead to loss of job opportunities. Some industries may allow you to reapply for the position after 3 to 6 months. However, if you think the result is inaccurate because of some external factors, you can contest it by providing proof of its inaccuracy. 

How To Pass A 12 Panel Drug Test?

You can easily pass your 12 panel tox screening if you keep yourself away from illicit drugs, take medicines based on a doctor’s prescription, and prevent overdose of OTC drugs and combination drugs. 

Here are some suggestions that might help you to pass your 12 drug test.

  • Stay away from drugs - If your 12-panel drug test is coming up, it is better to keep yourself away from drugs for a particular period. If you have lesser time, staying away alone will not help you. You can follow detox methods to reduce the drug metabolites.
  • Drink lots of Water: Ensure you consume plenty of water before the 12-panel test. Drinking water may help flush out the drug metabolites more effectively than others. Some people drink lots of water and take riboflavin tablets to increase their urine output. 

You can also take coffee to wipe off the drug traces from your system. But, as coffee is a diuretic and increases urine output, it is not advisable to use this method as your body may absorb some of the drug residues through the urine. Instead, drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily for at least two weeks before the test.

  • Exercise - Exercise increases the metabolism, which in turn will speed up the drug elimination process. You should note that “Exercises are the natural way to detox,” and hence it is significant that you should never skip your exercises.
  • Detox products - Use detox drinks or detox products to deduce the drug traces from your system. Cranberry is a household detox product, but you can also use other detox drinks like lemon juice, etc. 
  • Balanced Diet - Avoid eating junk food items and follow a healthy diet plan. A healthy diet will help eliminate the drug metabolites by increasing the metabolism and keeping your body healthy and fit.

Final Words

The 12 panel drug test is the most approachable drug testing panel for checking drug abuse in employees working in safety-sensitive positions and other jobs that require dealing with the public. 

Your employer might go for a 12 panel tox screen during the pre-employment and random drug testing. Whatever the panel is, if you are free from using drugs and follow doctor’s prescription while taking drugs, you can pass your drug test and get your desired career without any obstacles. 


Does Trazodone Show Up In A 12-Panel Drug Test?

Trazodone might cause a false positive for amphetamine or methamphetamine in a 12- panel drug test because it has a similar structure. Trazodone does not show up in the 12-panel drug test for opiates and is only included in the 12-panel drug test for amphetamines. 

If a drug testing lab detects trazodone, they will usually report that it shows up as an amphetamine that your doctor prescribed. Trazodone is a drug commonly used to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Does Kratom Show Up On A 12-Panel Drug Test?

Kratom may not show up on a 12-panel drug test. It rarely causes false positive results in 12-panel drug tests. However, if you take a lot of Kratom and then take a 12-panel drug test, it could show up in the test as a false positive for opiates or morphine. 

Kratom is an herbal supplement that can be used as a recreational drug. In high doses, it can have narcotic-like effects.

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