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5-Panel Drug Tests vs. 12-Panel Drug Tests

5 Panel Drug Tests versus 12 Panel Drug Tests

There are many different types of drug tests on the market, from single-panel tests to tests involving 14 panels or more. Two of the most common multi-panel options are 5-panel tests and 12-panel tests. But why might you need these drug testing solutions, and which type of test best fits your needs?

Why Drug Testing Is Important

Drug testing is an important tool for both government agencies and employers to ensure safety and productivity at work. For instance, employers may use drug testing to help prevent risky behavior and workplace accidents. Drug testing can also be used in legal disputes, such as in the context of a custody case or for determining whether a driver was under the influence of drugs at the time of an accident.

Drug tests are designed to detect the presence of drug metabolites, which are substances produced by the body when a drug is metabolized. This makes it easier for testers to determine if someone has recently taken drugs or is still under the influence.

What Are 5-Panel Drug Tests?

A 5-panel drug test is an easy and convenient way to test for the presence of five commonly abused drugs:

  • THC
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • PCP

When an individual takes a 5-panel drug test, they provide a urine or saliva sample which will be used to detect trace amounts of these drugs in an individual's system. Traditionally, the sample is collected and sent to a laboratory for analysis. But if you’re on a tight timeline, there are also on-site 5-panel testing kits available for immediate results.

If any of the aforementioned drugs are present in the sample, a positive result is returned. If an employer is not satisfied, they can screen for more drugs by opting for 7, 9, or 10-panel drug tests.

What Are 5-Panel Tests Used for?

Standardized 5-panel tests were first used in the 1980s for drug testing of U.S. troops returning from the Vietnam War. This standard was established as a part of the Controlled Substances Act of the 1970s and has been an essential part of the government’s drug testing program.

Today, 5-panel drug tests are typically used for pre-employment screenings or random testing for current employees as part of a company’s drug policy. Common among federal and civil service agencies, they are sometimes referred to as “DOT tests” in reference to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

5-panel tests are also the most common choice for companies in non-regulated industries. These tests provide employers with a reliable method of ensuring that potential employees are not using illegal substances, which can help prevent workplaces from becoming unsafe due to drug use.

The Pros and Cons of 5-Panel Drug Tests

The main advantage of 5-panel drug tests is that they are quick, easy to use, and cost-effective. These tests can provide employers with accurate results within minutes and are generally much cheaper than 12-panel drug tests. On the other hand, some people argue that these tests are not as thorough since they only test for five drugs instead of 12.

What Are 12-Panel Drug Tests?

12-panel drug tests are more advanced screening options that monitor the presence of a dozen substances. These include many commonly misused drugs, such as:

  • Cannabis
  • Barbiturates
  • Opiates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methadone
  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Phencyclidine
  • Methaqualone
  • Propoxyphene

The 12-panel drug test works in a similar way as the 5-panel test. An individual provides a urine or saliva sample which is then analyzed in a lab or used to process an at-home 12-panel drug testing kit. If any of the 12 drugs are present in the sample, a positive result is returned, indicating which substances the individual has imbibed.

What Are 12-Panel Tests Used for?

12-panel drug tests are typically used to detect illegal substance abuse in legal disputes such as criminal cases or custody hearings. More specifically, 12-panel drug tests are often used by law enforcement agencies, courts, and other legal entities that need to test an individual for drug use. These tests provide a more comprehensive overview of a person’s drug usage than the 5-panel drug test, so they can be useful in determining whether an individual has abused drugs recently or over a longer period of time.

Pros and Cons of 12-Panel Drug Tests

The main advantage of 12-panel drug tests is that they provide a much more complete picture of an individual’s drug use than 5-panel tests. 12-panel tests are also more sensitive and can detect even trace amounts of drugs, which makes them more accurate than 5-panel drug tests. On the other hand, 12-panel tests are typically much more expensive than their 5-panel counterparts and may take longer to obtain results.

Which Type of Drug Test Do You Need?

Both 5-panel and 12-panel drug tests are useful in certain situations, but it’s important to consider which one will best meet your needs. If you need a comprehensive overview of an individual’s drug use, 12-panel drug tests may be the better option. On the other hand, if you only need to test for a few drugs, 5-panel drug tests may be the more cost-effective option.

When in doubt, it's probably better to test for more substances rather than fewer. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what drugs an individual has used and whether they are currently using any illegal substances that might pose a risk to family members, coworkers, or themselves.

Trust Countrywide with Your Drug Testing Needs

If you're seeking reliable testing services that offer 5-panel drug tests, 12-panel drug tests, and more, look no further than Countrywide Testing. We provide fast, accurate results in an easy-to-use format so that you can get the information you need.

Countrywide is an online retailer providing you with easy access to drug tests and pharmacogenetic testing. We offer an array of products for testing at home, individuals staying clean after rehab, workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, and law enforcement purposes. 

Our test kits are convenient, affordable, and ship to you quickly. Plus, our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, so you can rest assured your test results are handled in accordance with the highest industry standards.

Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive selection of testing services.