12-Panel Drug Screen
If you’ve been without a driver’s license for any period of time, you know how hard it is to meet the everyday needs of your and your family’s life. To get your driver’s license back, you’ll have to satisfy numerous challenging requirements. One of those requirements is to take and pass a 12-panel Urinalysis Drug Screen. That drug screen will then be passed on to a state-certified substance abuse counselor who, depending on the counselor, can play an extremely crucial role in getting you back on the road right away. Grabel & Associates’ attorneys have decades of experience helping drivers just like you take and pass drug screens, putting those drug screens in the hands of the best and most persuasive counselors in the state, and, ultimately, helping you win your driver’s license back.
What Are 12-Panel Drug Screens?
The purpose of a 12-Panel Urinalysis Drug Screen is to determine whether you have illicit substances in your system. A typical 12-Panel Urinalysis Drug Screen tests for active components in 10 different substances, including amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, methadone, methaqualone, opioids, phencyclidine, and propoxyphene. Usually, you’ll visit a medical clinic or drug testing site and provide a urine sample. That sample will be sent to a laboratory to be tested for the components listed above. And, assuming none of those components are found in your system, a drug screen like this provides objective, scientific proof that you have abstained from drug use.
It’s important to know, however, that the detection time for each of these substances is different. Marijuana, for example, has the longest half-life of the substances checked for, and THC can be detectable in urine for a month or longer depending on the amount and frequency used. The table below provides approximate detections times for the various components:
|Barbiturates||2 – 15 Days|
|Benzodiazepines||2 – 10 Days|
|Cannabis||1 Week – 30 Days|
|Cocaine||2 – 3 Days|
|Methadone||2 – 7 Days|
|Methaqualone||10 – 15 Days|
|Opioids||1 – 3 Days|
It needs to be emphasized, however, that these time periods are estimates only. They depend on the specific type and quantity of drug used, the frequency of usage, any unique aspects of your health, and numerous other factors. THC, for example, can build up in the body’s fat cells and, as a result, be detectable for as many as three months for certain heavy, chronic users. And, contrary to a somewhat common myth, simply drinking a large quantity of water cannot “flush” these components out of your system. At best, trying to “flush” your system like this will lead to a diluted sample, which will nevertheless be considered a failed test. In that circumstance, you’re adding even more time to how long you’ll be without the driving privileges that you need so much.
As you likely noticed, alcohol is technically not one of the substances testified for in the 12-Panel Drug Screen. That does not mean, however, that you want alcohol in your system when you take your drug screen. It’s important to remember that, ultimately, the Secretary of State is determining whether you have been sober for at least one year before your driving privileges are restored, not simply whether you passed the drug screen. Simply passing that, alone, will not be enough.
Getting Ready For Your Drug Screen
Obviously, the best thing to do to get ready for your drug screen is to have stopped using all illicit substances, including alcohol, long before your drug screen. Another tip we’ve learned over our years of experience is to try to avoid using the restroom for at least an hour or two before your screen. As alluded to above, you want to avoid excessive amounts of liquids beforehand as well.
Samples are tested for two types of dilution: internal and external. Internal dilution is our primary concern. Samples are tested for the concentration of metabolites, including creatinine. If your urine sample shows creatinine levels between 2 and 20 milligrams per deciliter, a specific gravity of 1.003 or less will be viewed as a diluted sample even if no illicit substances are detected. Avoiding a false positive is so important, which is precisely why it’s important to avoid an excessive amount fluids immediately before the screen. The other type of dilution, external dilution, is caused by placing extra fluid directly into the sample itself, not your system. This dilution would be detected by abnormal creatinine levels and specific-gravity tests, but it will also be detected with temperature verification as well. Stated simply, there is no reason why this needs to happen to you.
It’s also important to point out that Michigan’s administrative rules specifically require both of these integrity variables: urine creatinine and specific gravity (as well as some others). Unfortunately, many out-of-state facilities do not include these variables. So if you reside outside of Michigan and are seeking clearance to qualify for a driver’s license in another state, you have to be careful to make sure that the drug screen you take includes these necessary integrity variables.
What Happens Next?
After your 12-Panel Urinalysis Drug Screen, you’ll likely wait around three weeks for your results. You’ll want those results sent to you, your substance abuse counselor, and your attorney. In the event you have not scheduled a substance-abuse evaluation at the time you receive your results, you’ll simply bring them with you to the evaluation.
Once you receive your results and complete your substance abuse evaluation, the counselor will prepare a written report. The report will outline issues regarding your substance-abuse history, describe your social and support networks, and identify the healthy coping strategies that you have learned. The information included in this report must be thorough and accurate because it will be reviewed by the hearing officer who will, relying in part on that report, eventually make the decision whether your driver’s license is reinstated. In fact, that report will be the only opinion or recommendation by a qualified professional in front of the hearing officer.
Because the report includes the only opinion or recommendation by a professional that the hearing officer will review, it’s crucial that the counselor gets the information he or she needs. But it’s also crucial that you pick the right counselor. Our experience allows us identify the right counselor for you and your circumstances and adequately prepare you for what to expect during your evaluation. Not all counselors have the same experiencing evaluating people in recovery, prepare the same quality of reports, or have earned the same level of reliability with hearing officers. Unfortunately, it is possible that choosing the wrong evaluator can prove fatal to a request for reinstatement even if everything else goes well.
Rely On Our Experience
If you’ve made it a year without using drugs or alcohol and are ready to get the process started to get your driving privileges back, you need to know exactly what tasks lie in front of you. Ensuring that you have no illicit substances in your system and that you’ve taken the steps to avoid a false-positive result is so important to that process.
Our experienced attorneys have worked with drivers just like you—they’ve partnered with drivers at all stages of the restoration process, they’ve advised clients about the proper steps to take to ensure a successful 12-Panel Urinalysis Drug Screen, they’ve helped put clients’ cases in the hands of the most experienced and persuasive counselors, and they’ve ultimately made sure to get the best possible results for clients just like you. If you’re getting ready to take a 12-Panel Drug Screen or take other steps in getting back on the road, consider whether partnering with our experienced attorneys is the right step for you. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-342-7896 today.