Percocet is a semi-synthetic opioid
. It is not an opiate. Opiates break down into morphine and codeine (which is what opiate screens are looking for) while the synthetics (ex: Methadone) and semi-synthetics (ex: oxycodone) do not. Standard opiate screens
do not usually detect any of the above referenced drugs. Some drug screens can detect them in very high concentration but most do not.
The best example of this is SAMHSA-5 (5 panel drug screens) utilized for federal employees, transportation workers, safety sensitive federal contractors, armed services, etc. and regulated by US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) will not
detect semi-synthetic opioids.
Labor unions also determine the type of tests used through collective bargaining agreements. Usually these tests are also limited to the federal standards, via Dept of Labor, and will not
Any federally regulated drug test must be administered in strict accord with the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs, 1994, Rev. 2008
and cannot test for any drug not identified in Subpart C, and then only at the cutoff limits as specified. (see p. 71880) This would also apply to employers contracted or subcontracted to a federal agency.
None of the foregoing testing programs will detect synthetic or semi-synthetic opioids. In fact, those tests are excluded by federal regulation
(see Fed Reg, above). This represents a large segment of the US population and a significant percentage of the drug testing performed.
Outside of the federal testing standards, there is little regulation and a complete lack of uniformity in drug testing methodology. Quest Diagnostics
, one of the larger testing laboratories in the US, notes that opiate drug screening panels only “detect opiates such as codeine and morphine” Oxycodone, can be detected but only if “it is present at a high concentration.” (ex: >2000+)
However, there are screening technologies available that use a specific reagent
that can detect Oxycodone as low as 100 ng/mL. Those are not standard opiate tests, rather expanded panels
. These more expansive tests are being actively promoted by the testing industry and, since oxycodone is a widely abused drug, gaining an increased presence in the testing field.
Once again these expanded panels cannot
be used within any of the federal testing programs but are available to the non-regulated segment. (See Fed Reg, above)
In conclusion, whether oxycodone, or any synthetic or semi-synthetic opioid is detected is entirely dependent on the type test that is performed.