Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) amended its drug testing program regulations for all DOT employees effective January 1, 2018. This harmonizes DOT regulations with guidelines established by U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) for federal drug testing programs. The most notable change with this new regulation is the addition of four Schedule II semi-synthetic opioids to the test panel.
The program will now include testing for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone. In addition, methylenedioxyamphetamine has been added as an initial test analyte, and methylenedioxyethylamphetamine has been removed as a confirmatory test analyte. The addition of hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone to the drug panel is in response to the current opioid crisis.
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a November 13 bulletin, “The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport. The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”
This new drug panel will create several questions for safety-sensitive employees. The new drugs that are being added to the panel have always been a disqualifying drug for safety-sensitive employees. Please make sure to inform your safety-sensitive employees of the medical disqualifying rules and regulations.
Along with these changes, DER’s will need to make sure that their current DOT Drug and Alcohol Policy is accurate to the new drug panel. Please see the link below in regards to DOT Policies.