Which Five Panel Drug Test are you Using?

The most common drug test ordered is the 5-panel drug test, but what really is in the 5-panel drug test? There are actually at least three versions, be very specific about ordering a 5-panel drug test. Do you know which version of the 5-panel drug test you are utilizing in your non-DOT drug testing program?

DOT requires a 5-panel drug test, a specific panel as specified by the DOT but created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This DOT 5-panel drug test includes the following: Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opiates, and Phencyclidine (PCP).

Now we must explain this further because these five categories of drugs actually include other metabolites which include:

  • For Amphetamines: Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA, and MDA which includes ecstasy
  • For Opioids: Codeine, Morphine, 6-AM (heroin), Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone


Although a total of 14 metabolites are tested for in this DOT 5 panel test, the DOT still calls this a DOT 5 Panel test. This panel went into effect January 1, 2018.

Joe Reilly, President of National Drug Screening, Inc recently commented on drug testing panels “I believe that the current DOT 5-panel drug test as described above should become the standard also for non-regulated or non-DOT testing. Laboratories are offering at least two additional versions of a 5-panel drug test which becomes very confusing.”

The 5-Panel Drug Test

Below we show the October 1, 2010, version of the DOT 5 panel drug test, this is also offered at the labs for non-DOT or non-regulated drug testing.

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

The amphetamines group included initial testing for MDMA and confirmatory testing for MDMA, MDA, & MDEA. The opiates group included Codeine, Morphine, 6-AM (heroin). It is important to note that the opiates group did not include the expanded opiates of Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone.

Prior to October of 2010, we had another version of the DOT 5-panel drug test. This 5-panel included Amphetamine with Methamphetamine, Opiates with Codeine & Morphine, Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, and Phencyclidine (PCP). So, note on this version, no metabolite for heroin (6AM), no ecstasy and no expanded opiates – Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone were included.

A fourth version of the five panel is also floating around at some labs which is similar to the one mentioned just above but includes the metabolite for heroin (6AM)

Which 5-Panel Drug Test are you Ordering?

So which version of the 5-panel drug test are you using for your non-DOT drug free workplace. As shown above there are 4 different versions. Employers need to ask questions, make sure you are the getting the panel you need and that it matches up to your drug free workplace policy. Third party administrators (TPS’s) need to ask questions, which version of the 5-panel test are you getting from your laboratories and selling to your employer customers.

National Drug Screening, Inc recommends always the use of the newest version of the DOT 5-panel drug test or for non-regulated or non-DOT situations. We call this either the 5-Panel DOT Like or the 5-Panel with Expanded Opiates.

Drug Test 5 panel versions
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