Opioids Added To Drug Testing Rules

 - November 14, 2017, 10:44 AM

Four opioids will be added to the DOT's drug-testing requirements for specified flying and ground personnel. Under new rulemaking from the U.S. Department of Transportation, effective on Jan. 1, 2017, drug tests of covered personnel must include hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone, in addition to the drugs for which testing is already required: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and phencyclidine (PCP).

This final rule is based on a DOT notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on Jan. 23, 2017. Also adopted are a clarification of certain existing drug-testing program provisions and definitions, technical amendments, and the removal of the requirement for employers and consortium/third-party administrators to submit blind specimens.

“Opioid abuse and related problems are a major national concern,” the DOT said. “Transportation industries are not immune to this trend and the safety issues it raises. Consequently, the department proposed including these substances in its testing panel, not only for consistency with HHS Mandatory Guidelines, but as a response to a national problem that can affect transportation safety.”

The DOT received 52 comments on the proposed addition of the specified opioids from transportation industry associations, drug and alcohol testing industry companies and associations, doctors and medical groups, labor organizations, and individuals. Of those comments, 41 supported the NPRM’s proposal.