The Department of Transportation (DoT) has approved its final rule on amending its current employee drug testing program for DoT-regulated employers. The new rule issued on Monday, January 23, 2017 will include certain semi-synthetic opioids to its drug testing panel, due to a national epidemic of opiate abuse. This new rule follows the recently revised “Mandatory Guidelines” set forth by the Health and Human Services (HHS) for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.
The new guidelines will grant the federal executive branch agencies permission to test for additional Schedule II drugs of the Controlled Substances Act in federal drug free workplaces, while removing methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA) from authorized drugs in Section 3.4. The four semi-synthetic opioids include oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone. This new program will also introduce methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte, increase the lower pH cutoff point from 3 to 4 for recognizing specimen as adulterated, while requiring MRO certification training every five years following the initial MRO certification.
The additions of opioid testing is in direct response to an increase in opioid usage nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in 2015 the following statistics were reported:
- 12.5 million people abused/misused prescription opioids
- 2.1 million people abused opioids for the first time
- 33,091 deaths from overdosing on opioids
- 2 million people had a disorder relating to opioid usage
- 15,281 deaths contributed to overdosing on commonly prescribed opioids
- $78.5 billion in economic costs
What DoT regulated employers must do to prepare for the new changes:
- New changes must be implemented by January 1, 2017 (regulation was approved on 10/01/2017)
- Review current drug screening policy and make necessary changes to comply with the new regulation
- Confirm with your drug screening provider or third party vendor that they are adhering to the new law.
- Organizations that voluntarily comply with the HHS Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs are highly encouraged to amend their programs accordingly.
Employers Choice Screening offers an extensive suite of searches to comply with the Department of Transportation:
- DoT Drug Test
- DoT Alcohol Test
- DoT Physical Examinations
- DoT Employment
- Commercial Drivers’ license Information System (CDLIS+)
- Transportation Employment History
- Driving Record Monitoring