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What Shows Up on a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Background Screening


The results of a pre-employment drug test depends on the type of test and what the employer is required to test for: the type of job, the company, or company policy. In many cases, this test that is part of the pre-employment background screening may mean a job offer for the aspiring applicant. In some cases, this test will determine continued employment after a probationary period.

There are many types of drug and alcohol tests that are available for pre-employment screening. A company can test for a number of substances, such drugs and alcohol usage.

Many employers require drug tests, especially in the transportation industry. Federal employees, such as the Department of Defense employees are required to take and pass pre-employment drug and alcohol testing. Private companies that work with public safety also require drug and alcohol testing of potential hires.


What can show up in a pre-employment drug test?

Drugs and alcohol can show up in a pre-employment drug test. The typical drugs that are screened by employers may include amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, phencyclidine, nicotine, and alcohol.


Are there different types of tests?

The 5-panel test will search for the five most common street drugs: cocaine, marijuana phencyclidine, opiates, and amphetamines.

  • Amphetamines: illegal drugs such as methamphetamines, speed, crank, and ecstasy
  • Opiates; heroin, opium, and codeine
  • Crack cocaine and the marijuana byproduct hash, as well as Phencyclidine (PCP), also known as angel dust.


The 10-panel test will search for the five most common and 5 additional drugs.

  • Barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone and propoxyphene
  • Barbiturates: phenobarbital, butalbital, and downers
  • Benzodiazepines: Valium, Librium, and Xanax
  • Methaqualone refers to the illegal drug known as quaaludes
  • Propoxyphene refers to Darvon


Does alcohol show up on a pre-employment drug test?

A breathalyzer can be used to test the amount of alcohol currently in the urine. However, this test cannot test for past usage of alcohol.

A urine test can test employees for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, nicotine, and alcohol. This test can show the presence of drug residue that remains in the body after the effects of the drugs wear off.

The mouth swab or saliva test collects saliva from inside the mouth and tests the usage of drugs during the previous few hours up to one to two days of usage.

The hair test can test drug usage up to 90 days of usage.

Origin offers comprehensive pre-employment background screening services, which includes national criminal database search, employee work history verification, social security number trace, and health care sanctions, to name a few. We want our clients to make smart, compliant, and well-informed hiring decisions.



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