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How is Your Company Responding to the New DOT Drug Testing List?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: AEMP
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If your workplace is required to follow DOT regulations, some important changes to the drug testing rules will become effective January 1, 2018.

Currently, there are five drug classes that DOT screens for:

(a) Marijuana metabolites 

(b) Cocaine metabolites 

(c) Amphetamines 

(d) Opioids 

(e) Phencyclidine (PCP)


The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a final rule that expands DOT's current drug testing panel to include these four semi-synthetic opioids to the Opioids classification:

  • Hydrocodon - Trade names Norco, Vicodin, Lortab, Vicoprofen and Riboxen
  • Hydromorphone - Trade name Dilasudid
  • Oxymorphone - Trade name Numorphan
  • Oxycodone - Trade name Eucodal

DOT-regulated employers will be required to test for these highly abused opioids beginning on Jan. 1, 2018. (See page 16 of the final rule for exact limits for each drug class)

Second, the acceptable levels for cocaine and amphetamines have been lowered. 

Third, how tests are conducted has been clarified. Except in the case of alcohol, only urine testing is accepted. (However, that may change if the government chooses to include hair and oral testing.) The final rule also clarifies how test technicians are trained. The final rule also prohibits DNA testing of any urine samples. Note: Evidential breath testing devices (EBT) are allowed for alcohol testing.

Fourth, wording has been changed regarding legally valid prescriptions. Employees with legally valid prescription for medication that may contain one of the drugs on the list are "entitled to rely on their physicians’ prescriptions as authorization to use the legally prescribed substance as a legitimate medical explanation. " This means an employer cannot override the physician's determination as to the dosage or duration for a worker's medication. 

This is a direct effort to enhance safety, prevent opioid abuse and combat the nation's growing opioid epidemic. The DOT currently requires drug testing of safety-sensitive employees in the transportation industries.

“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,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “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.”


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