DOT Drug Test Standards to Change October 1, 2010
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DOT Drug Test Standards to Change October 1st

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have revised their Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs that will take effect October 1st, 2010.  These revisions pertain to federal workplace drug testing governed by HHS and include the following changes to laboratory analysis of urine specimens.  Note that these changes only apply to urine specimen drug testing, and not hair or saliva.

  1. Lower initial screen and confirmation cutoff levels for cocaine
  2. Lower initial screen and confirmation cutoff levels for amphetamines
  3. Initial screening for 6AM (Acetylmorphine – a heroin-specific metabolite).  Previously heroin was only screened if the initial screening came back positive.
  4. Initial screening for MDMA (Ecstasy).  Previously this was not detected in an initial screen.

Sometimes these HHS and DOT regulations serve as a guideline for employers with non-DOT drug testing programs.  Various states have rules that reference using DOT guidelines for Non-DOT programs.  Some non-DOT employers choose to follow DOT guidelines even if they are not required.

Here is a list of states/jurisdictions that reference compliance with HHS and/or DOT regulations (in whole or in part).  Note this list is based on currently available information and is not intended to provide legal advice:

  • Alabama (if employer is receiving state incentive)
  • Alaska (if employer is receiving state incentive)
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida (if employer is receiving state incentive)
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland (if employer is receiving state incentive)
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio (if employer is receiving state incentive)
  • Oklahoma
  • Puerto Rico
  • Tennessee (if employer is receiving state incentive)
  • Vermont
  • Virginia (if employer is receiving state incentive)
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

If your company has a non-DOT drug testing program, it is suggested that you seek legal counsel to discuss whether adopting the new drug test limits for your organization is recommended.  If you have a formal drug testing policy in your employee handbook, check to see whether the policy states that the company will follow federal or state regulations.  If you choose to adopt these new standards, your drug testing provider should advise you on any procedural changes, such as updated chain of custody forms.

For more information see the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Website.

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