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What To Do If You Need A Probation Drug Test

Posted: September 13, 2019

Getting out prison and going on probation, or getting a suspended sentence, with probation, is often a second chance for people to get things right. The government wants to ensure that Americans who have rejoined society are truly reformed and are contributing, and one of the ways that this reassurance is earned is through taking and passing a drug test.

Unfortunately, while a probation drug test may be required, sometimes the directives to get this done aren’t so clear. It’s not unusual for people on probation to be told they need to furnish good or passing drug test results, but then not be clearly informed about how to go about this. We’re here to help with that.

Get The Information

The most important thing that a person on probation needs to know is what kind of drug test is expected to be taken. Hopefully, a probation officer or other authority will specify the nature of the drug test required, but if this isn’t given right away, it’s important to ask.

In the majority of probation drug tests, people will be asked to take either a “5 Panel Drug Test,” or a 5-panel drug test plus alcohol. A 5-panel drug test is where each “panel” represents a different drug, meaning that such tests can detect five different drugs, without necessarily requiring the subject to provide five separate samples.

What’s Being Tested?

A typical 5-panel drug test is looking for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP and opiates, or opioids. A 5-panel drug test plus alcohol is, as the name implies, also doing a test for the presence of alcohol. While these are the most common tests, there’s a bit of room to maneuver here. Opiates, for example, covers a broad range of different drugs, from natural, traditional drugs such as heroin, to more recent, synthetic opioid substances such as oxycontin.

Is Direct Observation Required?

This is another piece of information that testees should try to get either from the court that issued the order, or the probation officer that is being reported to. Sometimes, part of the drug testing results will require that a neutral, third party is present while a drug test sample is being retrieved. This is usually the case in situations where it’s felt that any attempt to contaminate or even switch samples in an attempt to pass, may occur if the person is left unsupervised.

Whatever the case in your situation, always make sure to get as much information as possible about the procedure and results the court wants to see.