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The standard drugs most employers test for.

March 29, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

Most employers utilize a standard five-panel test of “street drugs,” consisting of Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, PCP, Opiates (such as codeine and morphine) and Amphetamines (including methamphetamine). Some employers use a ten-panel test, which includes prescription drugs that are legal to possess and use. Employers can also test for alcohol.

Although each drug and person is different, most drugs will stay in the system for 2-4 days. For chronic users of certain drugs, such a marijuana or PCP, results can be detected for up to 14 days, and sometimes much longer. Sedatives, such as Valium, may stay in the system for up to 30 days. When the more expensive hair testing method is used, drugs can be detected for a 90-day period. To avoid the complications from “second hand” marijuana smoke, most labs will set a higher threshold before reporting THC in the system.

Most employers will insist that a job applicant give the urine sample within a specific period of time, so that a drug user does not wait until the drugs leave the system. Some drug experts consider a drug test to be an IQ test—taking a test knowing there are drugs in the system is not a sign of great intelligence. Laboratories and collection sites also have ways to determine if the applicant has attempted to alter the test sample.

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