DOT Amends Employee Drug Testing Requirements

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has published its long-awaited final rule amending its drug testing program for DOT-regulated employers. The new DOT rule makes the following significant changes:

  • adding four semi-synthetic opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone) to the drug testing panel, which is “intended to help address the nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse” and create safer conditions for transportation industries and the public;
  • adding methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte because, in addition to being considered a drug of abuse, it is a metabolite of methylenedioxyethylamphetaime (MDEA) and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“MDMA”), and such testing potentially acts as a deterrent;
  • removing testing for MDEA from the existing drug testing panel;
  • removing the requirement for employers and consortium/third party administrators (C/TPAs) to submit blind specimens in order to relieve unnecessary burdens on employers, C/TPAs, and other parties; and
  • adding three “fatal flaws” to the list of when a laboratory would reject a specimen and modifying the “shy bladder” process so that the collector will discard certain questionable specimens.

The new rule went into effect on January 1, 2018. Employers who comply with DOT standards when drug testing should modify their drug testing policies accordingly. More information about this rule can be found on the DOT’s website.