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Saturday, March 23, 2019

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DOT amends its drug screening program regulations

DOT amends its drug screening program regulations

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has amended its drug testing program regulations for all DOT employees, aligning DOT rules with guidelines previously established by U.S. Health & Human Service (HHS) for federal drug screening programs.

Announced in November, the new regulation includes addition to the drug test panel of four Schedule II semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone. In a November 13 DOT bulletin, secretary of transportation Elaine Chao called the opioid crisis "a threat to public safety," particularly when involving public transport employees.

"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," Chao said.

Quest Diagnostics recently answered some frequently asked questions about the new DOT guidelines:

What are the differences between opiates and opioids?

Opiates are psychoactive substances derived from the opium poppy. Opioid is an updated term and includes naturally occurring substances like morphine, as well as semi-synthetic (oxycodone) and synthetic (fentanyl) substances. In the context of the new DOT regulations, “opioids” refers to six specific opioid drugs included in the DOT panel.

Will my DOT look-alike drug test panel change in the new year?

The new regulation will only impact the automatic changes made to DOT drug testing as of January 1, 2018. Companies that prefer their non-regulated, "look-alike" panel to match the new DOT drug test panel should contact their sales or account management representative.

When will the Federal Custody and Control Form (CCF) change with the new regulations?

Federal CCT forms used for DOT testing will not change until after the first of the year. In addition, the 2014 Federal CCF is authorized for use until June 30, 2018. For more information, see the DOT's "Notice: Federal Drug Testing and Custody Form."

For general info about DOT regulations, employers can refer to the most current guidance, "DOT Drug Testing: Part 40: Emergency Notice."

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