11 Most Commonly Abused Drugs In the Workplace

employee drug testing
Is your company’s drug screening process efficient? Do you know what drugs your lab provider is testing for? Does your company even have a drug screening program in place? According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD), drug and alcohol abuse costs employers more than $81 billion annually. With more than 70 percent of substance abusers in America working full-time, the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace has become more critical than ever before.

Substance abuse in the workplace not only compromises safety, but can be a liability. According to ProHealth co-owner, Danette Krumel, “one drug related accident could potentially cost a company thousands in lost time, regulatory fees or even a lawsuit.” Understanding drug screening and why it’s important is vital to the success of your business. We’ve compiled a list of the most common medications by brand or common name and the chemical name that may alter or affect a drug test.

1. Alcohol

Yep, alcohol is actually considered a drug! Alcohol qualifies as any liquid medications containing ethyl alcohol (ethanol). If you find yourself needing to be tested for alsohol make sure you read labels on needed medicines for alcohol content. Examples include: Vick’s Nyquil is 25% (50 proof) ethyl alcohol, Comtrex is 20% (40 proof), Contact Severe Cold Formula Night Time Strength is 25% (50 proof), and Listerine is 26.9% (54 proof). The testing method for alcohol is a standard breath alcohol test.


A 5-PANEL drug test is the most common urine drug screen that detects the five of the most commonly consumed street drugs: cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, basic opiates like heroin, and PCP.

2. Cocaine

Cocaine or Cocaine HCI topical solution is a strong nervous system stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug and highly addictive. It is also referred to as Roxanne.

3. Marijuana

Also known as Cannabinoids and Marinol (Dronabinol, THC). To learn more preventatives for marijuana, specifically, read our previous blog on: “Legalized Marijuana & Maintaining a Drug-Free Workplace

4. Amphetamine / Methamphetamine

Potent central nervous system stimulant that is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy and obesity. Examples include: Adderall, Obertrol, Biphetamine, Desoxyn, Dexedrine, Didrex, Methamphetamine, MDMA, and MDA MDEA.

5. Opiates

Drugs derived from the opium poppy that have psychoactive compounds. Examples include: Paregoric, Parapectolin, Donnagel PG, Morphine, Loratab, Tylenol with Codeine, Empirin with Codeine, APAP with Codeine, Aspirin with Codeine, Robitussin AC, GuiatussAC, Novahistine DH, Novahistine Expectorant, Dilaudid (Hydromorphone), M-S Contin and Roxanol (Morphine Sulfate), Codeine, Morphine, 6-AM (heroin), and Oxycodone/Oxycontin.

6. Phencyclidine (PCP)

Not legal by prescription. PCP was brought to the market in the 1950’s as an anesthetic drug, but was taken off the market in 1965 due to the high prevalence of dissociative hallucinogenic side effects. Also referred to as Angel Dust.

Additional Drugs and Screening Options

Since the 5-PANAL (cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, opiates, PCP) doesn’t include all abused drugs, businesses often opt for a screen with more variables like a 9, 10, or 12-PANEL. Keep in mind many of the “drugs” listed are available by prescription. Businesses need to be aware of prescription drug abuse as it is a major problem in America.

7. Barbiturates

Central nervous system depressant that provides mild sedation up to total anesthesia. Examples include: Phenobarbital, Tuinal, Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Lotusate, Fiornal, Fioricet, Esgic, Butisol, Mebaral, Butabartial, Butabital, Phrenelin and Triad.

8. Benzodiazepines

Class of drugs primarily used to treat anxiety. They can also be used for seizure, insomnia or trouble sleeping, general anesthesia or muscle relaxation. Examples include: Ativan, Azene, Klonopin, Dalmane, Diazepam, Librium, Xanax, Serax, Tranene, Valium, Verstran, Halcion, Paxipam, Restoril, and Centrax.

9. Methadone

An opioid used to treat pain and as maintenance therapy. It is also used to help with tapering in people with opioid dependence. Examples include: Dolophine, Methadose, Symoron, Amidone, Physeptone, and Heptadon.

10. Propoxyphene

Narcotic pain relievers used to relieve mild to moderate pain. Include; Darvocet, Darvon N, and Dolene.

11. Methaqualone

A sedative and hypnotic medication which will induce sleep. Not legal by prescription. Methaqualone was banned in 1984. Examples include: Quaaludes.

How to protect your business

There are many companies in Northwest Florida that specialize in drug screening and occupational health. Employers, businesses, and individuals who need quality drug testing choose ProHealth for factors such as affordability, quality service, and our seven locations across Northwest Florida. We offer 5 to 12 PANAL tests that evaluate patients for the use of drugs such as propoxyphene, cocaine, marijuana, methaqualone, amphetamines, PCP (phencyclidine), methadone, benzodiazepines, opiates, and barbiturates. If your company is looking to reduce risk, gain a sense of security in the workplace, and overall save money on quality drug testing please contact Megan Seifert. Megan is an expert on drug testing and occupational health safety. Send her an email at megans@prohealthfl.com or give her a call (850) 554-9084 with questions you have.