DOT Proposes Changes to Drug Testing Panel

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued notice of proposed rulemaking – NPRM – to revise Part 40 to harmonize with the revised Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Urine, which is expected to be effective October 1, 2017.

There are two primary changes to the HHS Mandatory Guidelines to which this notice proposes to harmonize Part 40.

First, is the expansion of the standard drug testing panel to now include four additional Schedule II prescription medications: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.

Second, is to remove methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA) as a confirmatory test analyte from the existing drug-testing panel and add methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte.

In addition to harmonizing with pertinent sections of the HHS Mandatory Guidelines for urine testing, it is also proposed that NPRM will modify (for clarification) certain existing Part 40 provisions that cover the handling of urine specimens; to remove provisions that no longer are necessary (such as obsolete compliance dates); and to add clarifying language to other provisions (such as updated definitions and web links where necessary). DOT also proposes to remove existing Part 40 requirements related to blind specimen testing.

We encourage you to review your existing alcohol and drug policy to see how it may be impacted by these changes.

We suspect most policies are broad enough to accommodate these changes. For example, many policies simply reference the 5 classes of drugs tested (which have not changed), rather than referencing each specific drug tested within the 5 classes and referencing the specific cut off levels. In this case, no policy change would be necessary.

Even if your company is not subject to DOT regulations, it is still a good idea to consider incorporating these changes, as the DOT program is viewed as the gold standard in alcohol and drug testing programs.

Please note that these changes apply to lab-based urine drug testing only. We are currently working with the laboratory to determine if the proposed extended opiate testing panel will be available for point of care testing (POCT) as well.

Our goal is to keep our clients informed of any expected revision that will affect their alcohol and drug testing program. Once DOT confirms that these changes are being implemented, we will send further communication regarding specific changes to programs.