12 Panel Drug Test: How long do the Drugs stay in your System?

If you have been driving in the absence of your driver’s license, then you may have an idea how dangerous it can be for you or your family. If your driver’s license was revoked due to any illegal activity or you were driving under the influence of illicit drugs, then getting it back may become even harder for you. One of the requirements to get it back is a 12 panel drug test.

It is essential to take and pass a 12 panel drug test in order to receive your driver’s license back. Your drug screening will be then sent to the state illegal substance abuse counselor, who then will play an important part in issuing your driver’s license back and making it easy for you to get back on the road again.

What is a 12 Panel Drug Test?

The purpose behind performing a 12 Panel drug test is to identify whether you have any illegal drug traces in your system. Generally, a 12 panel drug test is performed to identify these 10 common substances in the blood including cannabis, barbiturates, cocaine, opioids, methaqualone, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, propoxyphene, and phencyclidine.

To have a 12 Panel drug test you will have to visit a medical center and provide a urine sample. Once the required amount for urinalysis is provided, the sample will be sent to the laboratory to analyze the amount of illicit substance in it or the substance mentioned above.

Let’s suppose if the 12-panel drug test result proves that none of the listed substances is found in your sample, then it will provide a certificate and scientific proof that you have abstained from drug abuse/use.

It is also important to note here that the detection times for all those substances are different. Marijuana, for instance, is the drug with the longest half-life substance that is tested for. THC however, is detectable even months after the abuse and can be longer depending on how frequently you have used the substance and of course the amount. 

Look at the following comprehensive segregation to understand the exact period of detection of a drug in your blood or urine.


Detection Windows


2-15 Days


2 Days


1 Week – 30 Days


2- 10 Days


2-3 Days


10-15 Days


2-7 Days


2 Days


1 – 3 Days


8 Days

Considering the above table, it is not necessarily true that these are the exact number of days or periods where these substances are detectable. As said, the period varies according to the frequency and the amount of substance used. Plus, it also depends on other factors, such as your health. For instance, THC, once it is used, is stored in the fat cells of your body and is detectable for as long as three months for chronic users.

Contrary to people’s belief, the substance cannot be flushed out from your fat cells no matter how much water you consume. What best you can do is to provide a sample that is dilute enough to detect the substance. In the end, a 12-Panel drug test will be a failed test, but it will keep you away for an even longer period to have your driving license back which you needed the most.

It is also notable here, that not only alcohol is responsible for keeping you away from driving privileges. Additionally, alcohol is not the one testified in a 12-panel drug test. But that doesn’t mean that you are allowed to have alcohol before your screening.

Keep in mind that the Secretary of State Drug abuse will eventually determine from your test that you have been abstaining from the abuse for at least one year before restoring your driving privileges. This means even if you pass the drug test, you still have to keep yourself away from any kind of illicit substance to have your driver’s license back, just passing the test may not help you enough.

How to get ready for a drug test?

Of course, you have to stop using any kind of illegal substance before you plan to take a 12-Panel drug test, not only alcohol.  Experts suggest that you should avoid using the washroom before one or two hours of your test. As said above you should not allude to excessive liquids from your body. This is because if you get a diluted sample, you will likely get a failed test and eventually a longer wait.

Urine samples are tested basically for the dilution of two types; internal and external. However, the test is more based on internal dilution. Samples are analyzed for the concentration of metabolites like creatinine. In cases where the sample shows the creatinine level between 2-20 milligram/deciliter, and the 1.003 of specific gravity or even less, it will be considered as a diluted sample regardless of the presence of any illicit substance. It is also important to avoid false-positive results; this is the reason why it is suggested not to consume an excessive number of fluids before your test.

The other dilution type – the external dilution happens when you place the fluid externally into your sample, not by your system. External dilution can be detected by the gravity tests and abnormal creatinine levels, plus, the temperature difference will also help in detecting this dilution type. But simply, there would be no reason to have this kind of dilution as it will only delay in getting back your license.

What happens once you provide the sample?

Generally, you have to wait for almost three weeks for the results after you provide the sample for urinalysis. The results will be sent to your attorney, your state substance abuse counselor, and to you. At the time when you receive the results, it is not the time where the evaluation is scheduled. After the results, you will schedule the meeting and move forward with the evaluation.

The next step is to complete your evaluation for substance abuse, your counselor will write and prepare your report according to results and evaluation. His written report will highlight the substance-abuse history, discuss your social networks, and define the healthy measures you have learned throughout the year to cope with abstaining from the abuse.

The information in the report must be accurate and correct as it will be presented in front of the hearing officer who will rely on the report in deciding for your license issuance. Supposedly, this report will be the only professional and detailed evidence in front of the officer.

This is because the report will also include the opinion of the professional that he observed during the evaluation. This is why it is important to carefully choose the counselor who will understand the circumstances and prepare you according to the situations to expect during the evaluation. Not all counselors have the same experience of evaluating, preparing the report or learning the reliability of the hearing officer.

Unluckily, it is possible that a wrong evaluator will take the request fatally and revoke the reinstatement regardless of the result of evaluation and reporting goes fine.

What other types of tests are used for drug screening?

Drug testing always occurs at professional and reputable laboratories. These laboratories are mostly authorized by the court or counselors. Apart from a urinalysis, the drug testing includes:

Saliva drug testing

 It is one of the most common drug testing methods used in the United States. Oral fluid (saliva) test is also called a mouth swab test, which is often used by the employer and the traffic officer to identify the recent drug consumption of a suspect. It is a must that the donor must not have any food intake before the sample has been collected. The saliva drug test is less susceptible and can be used to determine the use of cocaine, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP).

Blood Drug Testing

Blood drug screening is again used to identify the immediate use of a drug in an employee’s system. It helps law enforcement and the employer to recognize if the person is under the influence. In this blood test, the presence of drugs can be determined in a few minutes to hours. While in urine, it can be detected days after consumption.

Hair Drug Testing

Hair drug testing can be done to identify the traces of drugs even for a long time even for 90 days. All the ten common drugs can be detected in hair drug screening, this is why hair drug tests are the most authentic ones when there is a doubt of drug abuse against a person.

Rapid Drug Test

Rapid screening often includes saliva or blood tests that often show results four hours after testing. They are usually done at the workplace to identify the abuse among employees. Later a confirmatory test is also done based on which employers make the decision, which requires 2-3 days.

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