What does a 5-Panel Drug Test Screen for?

5-panel test for drug abuse is the most common form of workplace drug testing program used by both government agencies and private employers in the United States to create a drug-free workplace.

Below we’ll try to cover everything you might want to know about these tests.

What is a standard 5-panel drug test?

Standard 5-panel drug test is a screening method used to detect five most commonly abused substances, or more precisely, five classes of them, which are called “drug panels”.

Each employer can choose how 5-panel drug screen test is carried out. The most common four methods of drug testing are urine test, blood drug test, saliva and hair testing.

By far the most frequently used by employers, including the Department of Transportation (DOT), is 5-panel urine drug test.

In either case, you’d usually attend drug testing facility assigned by employer, such as Quest Diagnostics or Mobile Health, to provide a testing specimen. That said, a 5-panel drug urine test will require a urine sample from patients.

It only takes minutes to collect the sample sample, but you may need to wait around at drug testing facility, depending on circumstances.

Results are usually provided within twenty-four hours for a negative result. Positive test results take longer to be received by the employer, because further examination of the specimen may be required.

Many employers in the United States have strict regulations when it comes to drug use, and drug screening is necessary for workplace safety and accident insurance.

Employees such as law enforcement officers, truck drivers and physicians will be subjected to five-panel tests to ensure that they don’t have illicit substances in their system while at the workplace.

Five-panel drug test tests employees and applicants for five types of illicit drugs. Let’s have a look at what they are.

Which drugs are detected by 5-panel test?

It’s common in drug testing terminology to refer to drug panels. Each panel represents a different class of drug, meaning that 5-panel drug tests will be screening for five distinct substances.

When you attend a standard five-panel drug test, you’ll be screened for marijuana (THC), cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine. Let’s have a look at each of them:

  • THC is a psychoactive substance found in cannabis plant, commonly known as marijuana. This chemical is one of the most common substances to turn up during five-panel drug testing. Even though medical marijuana use is legal in many locations, it’s still a standard practice for U.S. employers and DOT to screen for it.
  • Cocaine is a stimulant that can quickly make people dependent on it. Many studies can attest to the long-term negative impact of this drug on habitual users, both for their physical and mental health. Cocaine is, therefore, categorized by the U.S. Government as a Schedule 2 drug.
  • Amphetamines (including methamphetamine) are also stimulants, like cocaine, and they are also classified as a Schedule 2 drug by the government if they are used for recreational means. Amphetamines have been prescribed by doctors to use as appetite suppressant and for many other reasons throughout the past century.
  • Opiates are derived from opium poppy plant and include illegal drugs such as heroin and opium. Opioids, which are commonly prescribed as painkillers, are made from synthetic chemicals in laboratories. They have different properties, and this means that workplace drug testing shouldn’t pick them up.
  • Phencyclidine (PCP) is an illegal drug that is often referred to as Angel Dust. There are no circumstances in which PCP would be prescribed by a doctor. Users of PCP are highly susceptible to addiction, and it can cause serious long-term health issues when used habitually.

5-panel and 10-panel drug test differences

As we’ve learned, a standard 5-panel drug test will screen for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, opiates, and PCP. With 10-panel drug screens, five additional drug test panels will be screened, which are for benzodiazepines, methadone, barbiturates, Quaaludes, and propoxyphene.

10-panel test is one of the most extensive forms of drug screening. These drug tests will be given to staff who work on a variety of safety-sensitive positions.

5-Panel and a 7-panel drug test differences

Like five-panel and 10-panel drug tests, the 7-panel test screens for five standard substances, which are marijuana (THC), cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), with addition of two panels — for barbiturates and benzos.

Different drug panels comparison

Detection by drug tests5-panel7-panel10-panel
Marijuana (THC)YesYesYes
Methadone (opioids)NoNoYes

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Xanax show up on a 5-panel drug test?

Xanax is the most common brand name of the drug Alprazolam. It’s used as prescription medication to deal with anxiety and stress, but many people also consume it recreationally. Xanax falls into the benzodiazepines group of drugs, which means it won’t be screened by a 5-panel drug test.

Does oxycodone show up on a five-panel test?

Oxycodone is an opioid widely used as painkiller in the USA, which is often referred to by its most well-known brand name, OxyCotin. Oxycodone won’t show up on 5-panel drug screen. These tests are screening for opiates, not opioids. So, as long as there’s only synthetic opiate like oxycodone in your system, it shouldn’t cause a positive result.

Does Adderall show up on a 5-panel drug test?

Adderall, sometimes referred to by another brand name Mydayis, is prescription amphetamine commonly used to treat ADHD. In addition, many people in the USA use Adderall as a “study drug”. Being an amphetamine, if Adderall is taken within the detection period, it will show up on five panel tests.

Does Suboxone show up on a five-panel test?

Suboxone is often used by people who are detoxing from addiction to opioids. It doesn’t belong to one of the five panels, so it won’t show up on this test.

Does methadone show up on 5-panel drug tests?

Methadone is an opioid used for variety of reasons, including as a painkiller, as well as an aid for people dealing with opiate or opioid withdrawal. Like other opioids, methadone won’t show up on your test result if only opiates are being screened for.


Creating workplaces free of drugs and their users is important for 5-panel drug test employers, which is why pre-employment drug screening and random checks for use of drugs are common.

Standards of five panel testing procedure are to screen for cocaine, marijuana, opiates, PCP, and amphetamine-based drugs, including methamphetamines. More information about pre-employment drug screening here.

There are some legal prescription drugs that can cause a positive test result. Always consider this before you attend any drug screen test so that you can familiarize yourself with your rights.