Which Drugs are Found During a Urinalysis? Part 1


Employers commonly require random, pre-employment and other drug screens of their employees. Most companies choose to go with a 5-panel urinalysis drug screen that test the five most commonly used drugs but there are other testing procedures available.

1. Testing Standard

If an employer has a contract with the Department of Transportation or other federal agency, they are legally obligated to have drug testing policies and procedures that include random / suspicious drug testing, pre-employment screening and testing after an accident. There are options to dispute a positive sample, like showing proof that you had a prescription for the drug that was being tested. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration abides by DOT rules, which means the standard 5-panel urinalysis includes: cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP) and marijuana (THC). Although non-DOT employers do not need to follow these regulations, most will also choose the 5-panel urinalysis, as it is the most widely and easily available, and can be obtained at almost any medical laboratory, plus cost of DOT testing is set according to law.

2. Marijuana

THC metabolites, hash and marijuana are detectable in urine for at least 3-5 days and up to 30 days for frequent users. While hash and marijuana are illegal drugs, there is a legal derivative of THC called dronabinol that could cause a urine screen to return positive. Dronabinol is used as a prescription medication to fight nausea associated with AIDS or chemotherapy.

3. Cocaine

Although it’s very rare, cocaine can sometimes be used as a topical anesthetic in hospitals. Regardless, cocaine use is illegal and is inexcusable if found in urine. Cocaine may remain detectable in the urine for up to 4 days, depending upon how it was used, in what amount and how frequently.

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