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5 Things to Know About DOT Drug And Alcohol Testing

Everyone gets a notice before submitting the drug test. The drug tests are compulsory in new employment, suspicion, after an accident, follow up, and in rare situations randomly. If any of the cases one has to report immediately. Urine gets collected for the test. After that, it goes to the lab for the test of any drug. The medical review goes to the gatekeeper’s MROs. After they verify the results and when they are confident, they declare the results.

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The DOT stands for Department of Transportation. It is the most common name for the government agency in Canada with its complete devotion to transportation. This agency oversees interstate travel and is a federal agency. 

In 1991, DOT got permission to conduct some drug tests under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act passed by US Congress. The Act passed because of the need for a drug and alcohol–free transportation industry. The DOT agencies were required to implement drug and alcohol testing of the safety-sensitive employees. It was to maintain the safety of the people traveling in public. 

 Here are few things to know about DOT drug and alcohol tests: 

Why Are Safety-Sensitive Employees Tested? 

The short answer to the question would be for the traveling public. Within DOT, the sub–institute, the Office of the Secretary’s Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC), issues the rules of how to return an employee to safe–sensitive duties. 

DOT drug test agencies and the US Coast Guard notes the industry-specific regulations, clearing out who is the subject testing, when, and in what situations. The benefits of the employees affected by DOT regulations are that all agency’s regulations must obey the DOT’s testing procedures found in 49 CFR Part 40. That is commonly known as Part 40. 

For example: If a person works in an air industry and then works in a motor carrier industry, the procedures for collecting, testing, and reporting of their tests will be the same under (Part 40) 49 CFR Part 40.

What drugs does DOT test for?

 The DOT tests for: 

  • Marijuana metabolites/THC
  • Cocaine metabolites
  • Amphetamines (that includes MDMA)
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

 Note: Specimens collected for drugs and alcohol testing:

  • Drug: Urine 
  • Alcohol: breath and saliva. 

Conducts That The Regulations Do Not Allow

As an employee of the safety-sensitive, you cannot do the followings:

  • One cannot consume alcohol or drugs during a safety-sensitive assignment or function.
  • One cannot work if one is under alcohol or drug or have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.4%
  • Cannot use alcohol within the 8 hours of duty
  • One should not refuse to submit any test for alcohol or other substance.

Using Prescribed Medications & Over–The–Counter (OTC) Drugs and Perform Safety–Sensitive Duties 

Prescribed medications and over–the–counter (OTC) drugs may get permitted. Only if the following criteria: 

  • A licensed physician should prescribe the medicines.
  • The treating physician should make a good faith judgment, so using the substance at the authorized dosage level is consistent to perform safety-sensitive roles.
  • If, by chance, more than one physician treats you, show the last physician’s prescription.
  • Other DOT agency rules may have prohibitive provisions, like a medical certificate. 

Assist one doctor in prescribing the best possible treatment, and consider providing the physician with a detailed description of your job. Many employers give their employees a written and detailed description of their careers to offer that to the doctors. 

When to test DOT drug or alcohol tests? 

 In the following situations, one can get tested: 

  • Pre-employment
  • Reasonable suspicion
  • Random 
  • Return–to–duty 
  • Follow–up 
  • Post–Accident 

Role of Medical Review Officers in the Testing

MRO (medical review officers) are licensed physicians with good knowledge and proper clinical experience in substance abuse disorders under DOT rules. They serve as independent, neutral doorkeepers to the precision and integrity of the DOT test program. All the laboratory results are forwarded to an MRO for verification before anyone else gets information about the results.

As the DOT drug program’s doorkeepers, they have to review the test and then rule out any other legitimate medical explanation before declaring the results as positive, negative, adulterated, or substituted.

What Happens If One Has Tested Positive, Refuse A Test, Or Violate The DOT Drug & Alcohol Rule? 

If one has tested positive, refuse a test, or violate the DOT drug & alcohol rule:

  • A supervisor or an official will immediately remove the person from the DOT controlled safe-sensitive functions. 
  • They are not allowed until the following have met.
  • Have gone through an evaluation by the Substance abuse professional (SAP)
  • Have completed all the things (education, counseling, or treatment) prescribed by the SAP
  • Have tested negative for the drug and alcohol
  • In return for the safety-sensitive job, you would be subjected to unannounced testing for drugs or alcohol, not less than six times during the first 12 months as prescribed by the SAP. 

SAPs play a vital role in the work testing place program by evaluating employees who have violated the DOT drug and alcohol guidelines. They are the gatekeepers of the re-entry program. They determine if a safety–sensitive employee can return to duty or not. 

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