Tahlequah Attorney BlogWhat Should You Know About Drug Testing?

There Are Three Real Types of Drug Tests Within the Court System

Video Transcribed: What should you know about drug testing in Oklahoma? Hi, my name is Ryan Cannonie. I’m an attorney in Tahlequah. And one question I get asked sometimes in our either private cases or family law, or even criminal cases, goes across the entire spectrum is about drug tests.

And what type of drug tests are being offered? What do they mean? The results, that different type of stuff. So there are three real types of drug tests that you’re going to come into contact with within the court system.

Urinalysis, UA test, hair follicle, and nail bed. So the UA is the one that has the cup that you urinate into. It can either be a 5 panel or 10 panels. There were some 8 panels at one point, but most places either just use 5 or 10. The panels mean what type of substances they’re looking for.

So 5-panel tests for five different types of substances and their metabolites, meaning that it’s not just looking for cocaine, it’s looking for cocaine and metabolites. Components of that cocaine, if it were maybe not pure cocaine use, but something that involved a product of cocaine as well.

And then there’s the 10 panel, which has vastly more, like benzos and some things like that. Urinalysis doesn’t have a long detection window. Some of the substances are really only up to three days, somewhere in there.

Others up to 25 days up to a month, depending on what substance you’re talking about. So they’re good for a quick test because a lot of times if you do a urinalysis and a substance was used within the previous day or so, it’s going to catch it. Most times, it’s going to catch it very quickly.

A hair follicle test, on the other hand, where they pluck some hair out of your head. If you’re going to have to do one of these, it doesn’t do any good to shave your entire head because they’ll find hair somewhere on your body. Unless you are completely bald, you’re going to have hair somewhere that they’re going to pluck out and use.

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The hair analysis goes from three to six months back. So it’s a longer timeframe, but it doesn’t always pick up on immediate drug use. So if you’ve used it within the past few days, it doesn’t always show that as accurate.

So whichever side of the testing you’re on, if you want someone to be tested or if you’re getting tested, it’s important to know that some of these detection windows are a little bit different depending on what the test is and what the test is for.

A hair follicle is going to look for those same panel drug tests. They can look at different types of substances and their metabolites, and look back, like I said, about three, sometimes six months. Probably the three months is the more accurate of the versions. Then you get into your nail bed test. And there are actually two types. There are fingernails and toenails.

And while you think, “Well, they’re basically the same,” they actually have a very different type of testing. And by that, I mean that the fingernail test will go back about six months. The toenail test can actually go back about a year.

And now they’re not going to tell when in that time period you used, just sometime in the past six months or a year that you used whatever substance it test positive for. These are all different types of tests you may be familiar with.

There are issues with all of them. If you’ve had the testing done and it comes up positive and you say, “Whoa, I never used that substance,” sometimes medication can impact it. Sometimes a bad sample can impact it.

I once had a client who had a nail issue. And so they were like, “Well, we’re not even going to test because if we do, it would throw off the results.” So it really depends on a lot of other factors when these tests come back if they’re positive or negative.

If you have questions about any type of testing, substance abuse testing, if you have a case where it looks like you might have to start testing or it’s been proposed and you have questions, you want to talk to an attorney about it before you agree, then please give us a call. Go to tahlequahattorney.com. Shoot us a web form. Let us know. We can help.

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