[BLOG] H.R.6: SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act

Nov. 21, 2018

[Ayr, ON] – H.R.6: SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act

It’s been referred to as the single largest bill to combat the drug crisis in the history of the United States. In 2017, there were 3,987 deaths linked to the use of opioids in Canada, which represents 11 lives lost per day. Today, more than a staggering 115 people in the United States die each day after overdosing on opioids.

Federal Bill H.R.6, which is referred to as the “Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act” was signed into law on Oct. 24, 2018, by President Donald Trump in part of the ongoing conflict to stop and prevent the opioid epidemic in the United States.

H.R.6 includes Medicaid, Medicare and public health reforms to combat the opioid crisis through treatment and recovery programs, improving prevention and protecting communities against illicit synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl.

The most significant part of Bill H.R.6 for DOT-mandated alcohol and drug testing is Subtitle I—Fighting Opioid Abuse in Transportation. The Act outlines detailed requirements on the Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Department of Transportation for rulemaking and implementation of changes to alcohol and drug testing in the transportation industries.

A summary of these requirements with timelines is detailed below:

  • By December 31, 2018, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall publish a final notice of the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Oral Fluid testing, based on the notice of proposed mandatory guidelines published in the Federal Register on May 15, 2015 (94 FR 28054).

  • A status report to Congress on implementing hair testing for DOT-mandated testing is required within 60 days of enactment of this act, with annual updates until a final notice of scientific and technical guidelines for hair testing is published by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

  • Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter until the compliance date, the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shall submit a status report to Congress on the January 6, 2020 implementation and operation of the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

  • By March 31, 2019, the DOT must establish and make publicly available on its website a database of the drug and alcohol testing data reported (M.I.S. reports) by employers for each mode of transportation; and update the database annually.

  • Not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall determine whether a revision of the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs to expand the opiate category on the list of authorized substance testing to include fentanyl is justified, based on the reliability and cost-effectiveness of available testing; and whether other schedule I or II drugs should also be added to the federal drug testing panel. If an expansion is determined to be justified, the Secretary of Transportation shall publish in the Federal Register; within 18 months after the date the final notice is published to include such substances in the Department of Transportation’s drug-testing panel.

  • Not later than 1 year after the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall ensure that each certified laboratory that requests approval for the use of completely paperless electronic Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Forms receives approval for them. They must also establish a deadline for a certified laboratory to request approval. By October 24, 2020, the Secretary of Transportation must publish a rule in the Federal Register requiring alcohol and drug controlled substance testing to cover all employees of railroad 2 carriers who perform mechanical activities.

  • By October 24, 2020, after the DOT public drug and alcohol testing database is established, the data will be reviewed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and a report will be provided to Congress including suggestions for use of data, how it could be more effective, any improvements that could be made and other recommendations.

Please see https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr6 for bill information and https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/BILLS-115hr6enr/pdf/BILLS-115hr6enr.pdf for a PDF version of the bill.

If you have questions or would like more information regarding this article please email DriverCheck@DriverCheck.ca.