U.S. Department of Transportation Publishes Drug Testing Rule to Enhance Safety While Combating the Opioid Epidemic

December 5, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today issued a final rule that expands the Department’s current drug testing panel to include certain semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone) to its drug testing panel for DOT-regulated industries.  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.”

As required by the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991, the DOT is harmonizing with the Department of Health and Human Services’ revised Mandatory Guidelines for Federal drug testing programs.  The DOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 82 FR 7771 was announced on January 23, 2017, the same day as HHS announced its revisions to the Mandatory Guidelines, 82 FR 7920.

Consequently, DOT-regulated employers will be required to test for these highly abused opioids beginning on January 1, 2018.  CorpOHS and Carroll Occupational Health will automatically add these new tests to all DOT testing effective January 1, 2018.  There will be no need to call to update our account.  This will not affect or change any standard Non-DOT drug testing.

Please note: there will be no change to the DOT Chain of Custody until June 1, 2018.  The technician will check off  the same test they currently check off until the new Chain of Custody’s are distributed.  The lab, however, will run the new test effective January 1, 2018.

Find more information on the final rulemaking https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-11-13/pdf/2017-24397.pdf.

If you have any questions, please contact your account manager below:

Tracey Plye, Program Manager

Carroll Occupational Health
Lisa Degitz, Practice/Account Manager