The 5-panel urine test is the most common drug test that people face, but what exactly is it? Which drugs does it look for? Does it detect prescription medication? What about false positives? How do you pass a 5-panel urine test? We'll answer all these questions.
What Does a 5-Panel Urine Test Detect?
The typical 5-panel urine drug test is based on the SAMHSA 5 drug test. When a company uses employees with commercial-class driving licenses, it is required by the federal government to have a testing process in place based on this test.
The SAMHSA 5 test is fairly basic by modern standards, because it only looks for five major groups of street drugs: opiates, amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, and PCP. The U.S. Department of Transport uses a slightly updated version of this test, where the amphetamine panel will also detect ecstasy.
Do 5-Panel Tests Detect Prescription Medications?
Yes, they can, but it depends on the medication. If you use medical marijuana, which is legal in many states, it will obviously show up.
Painkillers that contain codeine may trigger a positive for opiates, because codeine breaks down into morphine. Painkillers based on synthetic opioids, however, don't tend to show up as opiates. Even though they act in a similar way to morphine, they have a subtly different chemical structure.
Certain prescription medications also contain amphetamines. A good example of this is Adderall, which is prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Its active ingredients are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, so it will certainly trigger a positive on the amphetamine panel.
Most other prescription medications, such as benzos like valium, won't show up on a 5-panel test. However, there's a growing awareness of the abuse of prescription drugs, so extended tests are becoming more common (see below).
What about False Positives?
Immunoassay drug tests aren't perfect, unfortunately, and legal substances can sometimes trigger false positives. The quality of kits can also vary, and some are more prone to false positives. Any positive result should be retested using a more thorough GC/MS test, which is less prone to false positives.
Some testing labs offer extended tests that cover drugs not included in the standard 5-panel test. The list of drugs varies between labs, but they usually focus on commonly abused prescription drugs, such as OxyContin and valium.
How to Pass a 5-Panel Urine Test
Whether you need to take a 5-panel or extended drug test, a detox drink is an effective way to flush your urinary system clean. These drinks enhance the body's own cleaning mechanisms, so you can have clean urine within an hour.
Over time, drug metabolites will accumulate in your urine again, so the effects are temporary. Even so, you will have a few hours in which to safely submit a urine sample.
If you prefer, you can also get a similar product in pill form. Some people prefer these because they're easier to carry and store. The effect is much the same, but they usually involve drinking more water with them.