DOT Four-Opioid Panel Testing Rule Finalized

The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) made a final ruling November 10th on the proposed rules to include opioids in their drug testing panel for safety-sensitive employees. Originally proposed nearly a year ago, the ruling is now final and will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Opioid Testing For DOT

Around 6.3 million DOT-regulated drug tests are administered annually. The DOT drug testing program will now include testing for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone. In addition, methylenedioxyamphetamine has been added as an initial test analyte, and methylenedioxyethylamphetamine has been removed as a confirmatory test analyte.

Response to the Opioid Crisis

Hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone have been added to the drug panel in response to the opioid crisis sweeping the nation. There has been an over-prescription of opioid painkillers in America, which drug addicts abuse. In the past few years there have been more DOT accidents due to opioids and this ruling should help cut down on employeers who are putting others at risk.

Consistency Through Drug Testing

These four semi-synthetic opioids have also been added to provide consistency as mandated by Federal statute, OTETA, and applies not only to specimen testing validity values but also to initial and confirmatory testing values. These revisions now harmonize DOT testing regulations with the Health and Human Services Mandatory Guidelines that were revised earlier this year. The HHS guidelines apply to Federal drug-testing programs for urine testing. In addition to changes to the DOT drug testing panel, the ruling clarifies existing drug testing program provisions and definitions, makes technical amendments, and removing the requirement for employers and Consortium/Third Party Administrators (TPAs) to submit blind specimens.

Have questions about how the new DOT panel and/or HHS changes impact your workplace?

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