Opiods Added to Drug Testing Panel

Ready for some new additions? The due date for this batch is Jan. 1, 2018.

That’s when new Department of Transportation (DOT) rules kick in and four new opioids will be added to DOT’s random drug testing panel.

What are the new additions?

Four semi-synthetic opioids — hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone, commonly prescribed pain medications. (Also part of the rule changes: employees will no longer need to be tested for MDEA, or methylenedioxyethylamphetamine.)

These changes, which impact truck drivers and other “safety sensitive” drivers, are designed to help tackle the nation-wide opioid epidemic, say DOT officials.

What does this change mean for the industry?

According to some experts, it could mean an increase in positive drug tests during random testing and an increase in the percentage of testing. For 2017, carriers were required to randomly test 25 percent of their drivers during the calendar year. But that percentage could change in the future, thanks to this new rule.

While testing rates for 2018 haven’t been announced yet, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) surveys companies to set the rates. If surveyed companies report one year with above one percent positive random testing rates, FMSCA will bump the percentage needing to be tested up to 50 percent.

What are the chances this could happen?

Pretty good, according to current data. This data shows positives during random drug tests at .09 percent and that’s before any of these new opioids were added. (Employees with a prescribed amount of these new opioids in their system won’t be considered a positive test, of course.)

While this addition does represent a major change, it may also represent a step toward more safety and security, not just for the drivers but also for everyone on the road around them.

Will your company be ready for this expanded drug testing? If you partner with ClearStar, you will be. We support your company with all the basics, including drug screening, MRO services, and drug-free workplace programs. Want to know more? Contact us today!

 

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