When employee drug testing started back in the 1980’s; the 5 panel drug test was the standard test for both DOT drug testing and Non DOT drug testing. This test included the following: Amphetamines (including Methamphetamine), Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates (including Codeine and Morphine) and Phencyclidine (PCP). So this is typically the panel configuration you get if you order from a laboratory a 5 panel drug test.
DOT drug testing refers to testing safety-sensitive employees working in safety sensitive positions for employers regulated by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). Non DOT testing refers to all other employment drug testing that is not regulated by a Federal agency or the United States Department of Transportation. Today the majority of employee drug testing in the United States is Non DOT testing although approximately 7 million DOT drug tests are conducted annually.
Effective October 1, 2010, DOT required the following change. 6-AM (heroin) was added under the Opiate panel and initial testing for MDMA and confirmatory testing for MDMA, MDA, & MDEA was added to the Amphetamine panel. The term 5-panel remained under DOT regulations. So at this point the term 5 Panel DOT Like Drug Test was coined. This test now included: Amphetamines (including Methamphetamine and initial testing for MDMA and confirmatory testing for MDMA, MDA, & MDEA), Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates (including 6AM or Heroin, Codeine and Morphine) and Phencyclidine (PCP). Many non-regulated employers have looked to use a mirror image of the DOT 5 panel drug test for their drug testing panel. Also, there are State laws and contractual requirements that mandate an employer to utilize a mirror image of the DOT 5 panel drug test in their employee drug testing program.
Effective January 1, 2018 the DOT has again changed its five panel drug test. Expanded or synthetic opiates are now included. This test now changes the name of opiates to opioids and the test includes the following: Cocaine, Marijuana, Phencyclidine (PCP), Amphetamines (Methamphetamines, MDMA & MDA) & Opioids (including 6AM or Heroin, Codeine, Morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone & hydromorphone). This new test is still called a DOT 5 panel drug test.
What’s becomes confusing now is that there are three versions of a 5 panel drug test available from laboratories. When setting up Non-DOT employer accounts with your laboratories it will be very important to specify the correct version of the 5-panel drug test. Effective 01/01/2018 a true DOT Like 5 panel test will be just like the new DOT required test and will include the same as DOT: Cocaine, Marijuana, Phencyclidine (PCP), Amphetamines (Methamphetamines, MDMA & MDA) & Opioids (including 6AM or Heroin, Codeine, Morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone & hydromorphone). Many Non DOT employers that are required to have a DOT Like drug test panel will have to make a change with their drug testing vendor.
To avoid confusion and make sure you are utilizing the correct drug testing panel, make sure you are working a professional and experienced drug testing vendor. It is easy for the wrong panel to get set up and then it becomes difficult and complicated to change. Many companies sell drug testing, ask questions and determine if your vendor is knowledgeable and has the correct answers you need for your drug-free workplace program. Avoid exposure to liability, always look to work with a professional and experienced drug testing vendor.