12 Panel Drug Test – Everything You Need to Know

Drug tests are necessary for detecting certain substances in the body to prevent individuals from drug dependence or enhancement. In addition, 12 panel drug screen detection times provide more comprehensive reports usually required in various institutions, as they have more extensive applications and covers more drug metabolites.

What is a 12 panel drug test?

It’s a specialized drug test that gives you the chance to prove that you’re sober and in the right mind frame to maintain it over a long time. So, if you are looking to take a 12-panel test soon, what are the expected processes? Here, at FMAHealth, we serve you essential info on the screening exercise and how you can get prepared.

What Drugs Does a 12 Panel Drug Test Identify?

Generally, you provide your 12 Panel drug test cup samples to check for certain drug substances present in your body. Its range spans several drug types. Below is a substance catalog if you’re looking to know what shows up on a 12 panel drug test:

  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cannabis
  • Amphetamines
  • Methadone
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Cocaine
  • Methaqualone

The metabolites mentioned above would typically leave traces in the urine, meaning that you’ll have to give a urine sample and have it sent to the testing site. Ultimately, the test aims to objectively prove that you’ve avoided such drugs over a long period.

Occasions That Require a 12-Panel Drug Test

12 Panel drug test is one of the extensive testing forms and can be helpful on various events. Below are some of the use cases that you can expect:

  1. Recruitment Process
    Employers implement drug testing procedures for new hires to combat illicit drug use at workplaces. Recent studies identify illegal drug use and addiction to have a widespread impact on personal behavior, extending professional practice and productivity levels. Chronic drug users may witness a sharp drop in output at work, leading to setbacks for employers.
    12-panel drug tests are a way to ascertain that position-holders in a company can abstain from drugs and maintain sobriety at work in the long term. The need for such instant drug testing levels is more apparent for safety-sensitive occupations like those in the automotive industry.
  2. Driving License Restoration
    You might have your driver’s license suspended at some point, but getting it back requires you to pass a drug test. The process establishes that you can maintain long-term drug abstinence and have a support system to maintain your sobriety.
    Although alcohol is not one of the substances tested, it follows that you avoid alcohol consumption before taking the drug test. The authorities typically need to see that you’ve been sober for at least a year for you to win the driving license restoration case.

How Long Does It Take to Get Drug Tests Results?

It typically takes about three weeks to get your drug test results ready. Some laboratories can send the results to you by mail. You can get it sent to you, your attorney, and the substance abuse evaluator (if you already have one). Also, you can bring the drug screen panel results with you to any substance abuse evaluation you set later.

Why do Employers Enforce Drug Tests?

Drug tests are necessary to ensure that productivity at work doesn’t get affected by frequent drug use. Employees addicted to drugs would experience personal changes, which in turn stunts how much work they can do in a company. The trend may cause the employer to lose some money due to reduced output.
Furthermore, some job positions are highly sensitive, and employees need to be safety-conscious to fill them. For instance, jobs in the automotive, petrochemical industry need utmost focus, and employers enforce a strict sobriety policy to make sure new hires and employees can maintain the position.

How to Pass a 12 Panel Drug Test?

You must not take any drugs or alcohol before passing the test. On top of that, it’s better that you don’t take large fluid amounts. The urine samples you provide get tested on two bases: internal dilution and external dilution.

Internal dilution is often the basis on which you can fail even when you’ve been sober and clean. Testing officers consider internal dilution when testing for the metabolite concentration in the body. Summarily, if the creatinine/metabolite levels in the sample have a range of 2-20 mg/dl, it gets recorded as diluted. This was proven by FMA Health.

On the other hand, external dilution entails tampering with the samples after it’s left the body. For example, individuals may add extra liquids to the urine sample to make it difficult for the tests to detect the substances in it. However, handlers can quickly tell there’s been an external dilution with abnormal specific gravity levels.

Laboratory Drug Screen vs. Instant Drug Screen

Instant drug screens use color-coded strips dipped into the urine sample. It works if you’re looking to take a test similar to a 12 panel drug test at home. The results you get might be helpful but not comprehensive enough for a full report.
On the other hand, laboratory-based drug tests cost more money and time, as they accurately deduce parameters such as creatinine and the urine’s specific gravity. Also, they offer more reliability in the event when you need to provide a drug test report to an evaluator or a hearing officer.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

  • What is the difference between 10 and 12-panel Drug tests?
    12-panel drug tests are an extension of the 10-panel ones. They test for added substances such as painkillers and opiates, which a 10-panel drug test cannot quickly detect.
  • What does a 12 panel drug test Test for?
    A typical 12-panel drug test tries to detect stimulants and opiates such as Ecstasy and Hydrocodone. These drug types are much harder to see using a lower-count panel drug test or a simple mouth swab test. 12-panel drug screens are the most suitable to detect these substances over several days of use.
  • What Drugs are tested in a Drug Test?
    Some of the drugs tested include common opiates such as codeine and morphine, PCP (phencyclidine), propoxyphene, and marijuana.
  • Can I Drink the Night before a Urine Drug Test?
    Yes, technically. 12-panel and other urine drug tests don’t necessarily look for alcohol, although they can detect it. It means that you can drink a little alcohol the night before you take the tests. However, the recommendation is to abstain since alcohol traces might show up in the sample and hinder a substance abuse evaluation hearing.Have not found appropriate information? Read article about the best hair follicle detox shampoo or surf site for other detox methods. 


  • Carolyn Gaughan

    Carolyn Gaughan is an ex-executive vice president of the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians and represents the state associations of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.