Aug 21, 2013


Starting a workplace drug-testing program requires a lot of steps. A policy has to be created and within that policy you have to decide the reasons you will be testing your employees. Typically companies test at the time of a job offer, after any accident, and when they suspect someone is under the influence of a drug. More and more companies are adding random testing to their reasons.

Another piece of the puzzle for a workplace drug-testing program is deciding on what drugs to test for. Companies that have employees who qualify under the Department of Transportation (DOT) do not make the decision as to what drugs to test for because the DOT has a standard list.

workplace drug testingThe DOT test is referred to as a 5-panel test. However under this 5-panel test there are subcategories and in each subcategory there are different drugs tested for. Therefore, the DOT is actually testing for more than just 5 drugs.

The two categories listed on the clipboard that have subcategories are:

Amphetamines (includes Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, MDMD (Ecstasy), MDA, MDEA)
Opiates (includes codeine, morphine, heroin)

But what do companies test for when they are not regulated by the DOT? Non-DOT urine drug tests can typically be ordered as 5-panel or 9-panel tests. It depends on the lab your company uses as to what panel of tests you can choose from. Some labs even offer a 6-panel or a 10-panel test.

The 5-panel non-DOT test tests for the same drugs that the DOT 5-panel tests for. If you want to increase the number of drugs tested for to a 9-panel, then the following drugs are added: methadone (narcotic), barbiturates (depressant), benzodiazepines (depressant like Xanax), and propoxyphene (narcotic analgesic like Darvocet).

It is up to your company to decide what drugs they want to test for in the workplace drug-testing program. Several companies include breath alcohol testing in their program as well. The most important thing that you can do is to be sure to inform all employees of your drug testing policy, including the drugs that you are testing for. Make sure every employee receives a copy of the policy and there is a place for each person to sign and date the policy. This shows they are acknowledging they have seen the policy and understand what it means.

3rd Degree Screening is partnered with eScreen and therefore they offer the option of choosing a 5-panel or a 9-panel urine drug test. You also have the option of adding tests for additional drugs for an extra cost, even synthetic drugs (like K2 and bath salts).

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