A person analysing a 10 Panel Drug Test

A 10 panel drug test is a type of screening process that tests a person for a number of drugs. Commonly a type of employment drug test, this form of drug testing looks for 10 of the most frequently used drugs that may indicate substance abuse.

Find out more about the 10-panel drug test and drug test detection window here.

What is a 10-Panel Drug Test?

A 10-panel drug testing procedure is commonly used by people to detect the number and type of drugs a person has consumed recently. The most common way a person is tested for drugs is via a urine drug test which will flag the exact type of drug that has been consumed within the past few days.

Urine samples are typically tested for marijuana, opioids, and other illegal drug types such as cocaine, heroin, and more. These tests are very easy to administer and take and are available worldwide. Urine drug tests are one of the most accurate types of detection tests if taken in a secure environment where tests aren’t tampered with.

Employers commonly administer a 5—or 10-panel drug test to ensure a drug-free workplace, and they may disclose that they can enforce random workplace drug testing in their contract.

Similar drug tests may help evaluate potential employees, but a 10-panel drug test is one of the most common forms of workplace drug testing. Below are the types of drugs that are commonly tested for.

What Drugs Can 10 Panel Drug Testing Find?

This type of drug test aims to identify whether drugs have been consumed, including both prescription drugs and illegal drugs. Commonly tested drugs that a 10-panel test can identify include:

  • Amphetamines: Types of illegal drugs such as ecstasy and crystal meth.
  • Phencyclidine: Also known by its street names, PCP and angel dust.
  • Cocaine: A commonly used drug which can be detected in a 10-panel drug test. Other forms of cocaine can also be identified, such as crack cocaine.
  • Opioids: Drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are highly addictive opioid painkillers. If this drug is found in the system of an employee, an addiction may be present and require treatment.
  • Marijuana: Marijuana, also known as cannabis, weed, and hash, are all detectable in a urine sample drug test.
  • Benzodiazepines: Benzos, such as Xanax and Diazepam/Valium, can be found in urine samples.
  • Methadone: An extremely addictive drug which can be identified via a drug test.
  • Methaqualone: This type of drug is often referred to as Quaaludes.
  • Barbiturates: Drugs, including amobarbital, phenobarbital, methohexital, butalbital, and primidone, can be detected in urine samples.
  • Propoxyphene: This drug has its own type of detection.


What Happens During a 10-Panel Drug Test?

The process of a 10 panel drug test is very straightforward, and it is known to be an easy type of drug screening. This form of drug test requires a urine sample to be taken, which is then tested by a medical review officer and specialists who review any drug residues which may be present in urine.

A sample cup will be provided onsite to the person taking part in the test, and they will then be expected to provide a urine sample.

A person may stand near the bathroom to prevent tampering with the collection cup, and the sample collection will then be taken to test for the various different types of drugs being tested.

In some cases, there may be inconclusive results, but overall, this form of drug testing is very comprehensive and successful at identifying recent substance use. False positive results are extremely uncommon, so there is nothing to worry about if you have not consumed any drugs.

Although drug screenings may be intimidating, they are often very fast, simple and easy to do.


What is the Drug Detection Window?

Although a 10 panel drug test is a very thorough form of drug testing, urine testing has a few limitations in comparison to saliva tests and other forms of drug tests. Different drugs have varying detection times in urine, which is the biggest limitation of a 10 panel drug test.

Factors that can impact the detection times of drugs in the system include the type of drug, the amount of drug consumed, and a person’s genetics (such as metabolism and weight).

Drug detection times are also different depending on the form of test. For example, saliva tests are helpful for on-the-spot drug testing, but only work within a few hours of the drug being consumed. Urine, blood and hair tests all have different detection times which is something to bear in mind.

The average drug detection window for the main types of drugs tested are:

  • Cannabis: For one-time use, detection time in urine is roughly 3 days. However, people who consume large amounts of marijuana can be detected up to 30 days after use.
  • Cocaine: Cocaine can be detected in urine for roughly 2-4 days after last use.
  • Amphetamines: The detection window for amphetamine sulfate is typically up to 2 days (48 hours).
  • Opiates: Opioids are typically detectable in urine drug tests for 2-3 days, depending on the exact drug.


What Happens if the Drug Test is Positive?

What happens if you get a positive result will depend on your employer. For example, prescription drugs that you require will not have any negative repercussions, but this may not be the case if you get positive test results for specific drugs such as cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids, cocaine, and other substances.

What happens after a positive drug test also depends on the reason for the test. For example, disciplinary action may occur if a person who failed the test is already an employee who signed a contract stating no drugs would be consumed. However, a person who takes a 10-panel drug test as part of a background check before employment will be unlikely to get the job.

Depending on the severity of drug use, a person may receive disciplinary action and, in rare cases, may be referred to rehab or a doctor for treatment. Most employers will speak to the person to discuss the test results and situations, which vary from case to case.

Knowing what to expect from a 10-panel drug test can be daunting, but the process is straightforward and, if taken correctly, very accurate.