SPECIAL REPORT: Feds tighten up drug testing policies

| 6/25/2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 – Beating a DOT drug test is getting a lot tougher thanks to a new final rule issued by the Department of Transportation.

The final rule, issued today, takes aim at CDL holders who attempt to defeat drug tests with substances or substitutes that will hide positive results. The new regulation goes into effect Aug. 25.

The final rule makes it mandatory for labs to test all DOT specimens for validity – to make sure there aren’t any adulterants or urine substitutes. The labs must follow specific federally mandated guidelines when testing for tainted samples.

The revised regulation also gives labs the green light to observe the collection of samples if an employee called in for a drug test is suspected of trying to alter the sample. If an employee does test positive and is going through the return-to-duty process or a follow-up drug test, labs are now required to have staff observe collection of the urine sample.

The new reg also requires labs to take down the “easy to read” posters that outline the list of different substances that alter test results the lab will be testing for.

If somehow a test is altered, it will now be considered a “refusal to test.”

The process for CDL holders who may have a legitimate medical reason – for example, those on a regular regime of medication prescribed by a doctor – will also change. They will now be required to get a medical evaluation to rule out signs and symptoms of drug abuse before being given a free pass on a positive test result.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor