Department of Transportation Amends Drug Testing Requirements

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

On November 13, 2017, the Department of Transportation amended its drug testing program regulation which, among other things, adds certain semi-synthetic opioids to its drug testing panel.

The DOT has published its final rule ( amending its drug testing program for DOT-regulated employers. The new rule comes after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised “Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs” ( which became effective on October 1, 2017.

The new DOT rule makes the following changes:

  • Adds four semi-synthetic opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone) to the drug testing panel.  Some common names for these semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, Exalgo®;
  • Adds methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte;
  • Removes testing for MDEA from the existing drug testing panel;
  • Removes 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
  • Adds 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 goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Employers who comply with DOT standards when drug testing should modify their drug testing policies accordingly.

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