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What is a DOT 5 Panel Drug Test?

DOT 5 Panel Drug Test

Last updated on August 21st, 2020 at 09:57 am

DOT regulated employers must do DOT drug testing using the standard approved DOT 5 Panel Drug Test with testing performed at a SAMHSA certified laboratory.

Article written by Joe Reilly, President of National Drug Screening, Inc

As a DOT regulated employer you must do drug testing of DOT safety sensitive covered employees.  The most common examples are truck drivers, bus drivers, pilots, and railroad employees.  You must follow the DOT regulations for drug testing specifically 49 CFR Part 40.  This regulation describes required procedures for conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing for the Federally regulated transportation industry.

What is the DOT 5 Panel Test?

A common question is what is the DOT drug test? It has been for many years a 5-panel drug test, there have been changes over the years, but it is still a 5-panel drug test.  The DOT testing includes the following drugs: Marijuana metabolites, Cocaine metabolites, Amphetamines, Opioids, and Phencyclidine (PCP).  For the DOT 5 panel drug test we can break this down further:

  • The Opioids panel includes Codeine, Morphine, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, and 6-Acetylmorphine (6AM). The 6AM is the metabolite of heroin
  • The cocaine metabolite is Benzoylecgonine
  • The marijuana metabolite is THCA which is the metabolite of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s major psychoactive ingredient)
  • The Amphetamines panel includes Methamphetamine, Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA). The drugs associated with MDMA or MDS are Ecstasy or Molly

What is a SAMHSA Certified Laboratory?

The lab performing the testing for a DOT 5 Panel test must be certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  These labs must conduct DOT testing in accordance with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements.  Examples of SAMHSA certified laboratories include Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp. SAMHSA maintains a web page of all SAMHSA approved laboratories.

What is Screening and Confirmation Testing?

The DOT drug testing is a two-step process at the lab.  The urine specimen is screened using technology, called immunoassay technology.  This test is qualitative (meaning the test is either positive or negative).  If the urine specimen is negative on the screening test the negative result is immediately reported to the Medical Review Officer (MRO).

The confirmation test utilizes high complexity instrumentation that yields a definite and specific result. Best practice for confirmation testing involves using either a GC/MS or LC-MS/MS.  This test is quantitative (meaning the test measures drug concentration). This process will pinpoint the exact metabolite of the drug present in the urine at the time of collection.  This positive result will be reported to the MRO for further review and verification.

DOT Compliance Drug & Alcohol Testing

Form much more information on compliance with DOT drug and alcohol testing you can learn more on the National Drug Screening (NDS) DOT compliance web page. NDS DOT programs are guaranteed to be compliant and will pass an audit.