The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently published updates to 49 CFR Part 40 (Part 40) that went into effect on 1 January 2018. The DOT updates were published in direct response to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) revised mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs that went into effect in 2017. Although the DHHS and DOT often work in tandem and have aligned their testing guidelines on the following matters, they are not the same entity.
Updates to the DOT drug testing panel included the addition of four new drugs. Hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone have been added to the panel as new semi-synthetics. MDEA was removed for confirmatory testing and MDA is now an initial test analyte. Additionally, drug panel language has been changed from “opiates” to “opioids” to accommodate the additional semi-synthetic opioids.
Blind specimen requirements for DOT-regulated programs are no longer in place. HHS-certified laboratories are still required to submit to proficiency testing. However, third party administrators are no longer required to submit blind specimens on behalf of their clients.
MROs are now allowed, at their discretion, to authorize testing for THC-V in addition to D, L stereoisomers of amphetamine and methamphetamine. Re-training every five years is still required. MROs must ensure that a prescription is legally valid, and medical marijuana is not to be accepted as a valid prescription. Additionally, the MRO process for reporting medical information has also been updated.
Three fatal flaws were added to Part 40 in addition to the four pre-existing fatal flaws. They are as follows:
1. There is no CCF.
2. Two separate collections were performed using one CCF.
3. There was no specimen submitted to the laboratory with the CCF, but there was a specimen actually collected.
The updates to Part 40 also clarify that only urine specimens screened and confirmed at HHS-certified laboratories are permitted. DNA testing of the urine specimen is not authorized. Additionally, MRO’s Substance Abuse Professionals, Blood Alcohol Technicians, collectors, and Screening Test Technicians must keep current on any changes to Part 40 by subscribing to the DOT list-serve.
The updates to Part 40 align the DOT testing requirements with those put in place by the DHHS in mid-2017. The changes allow for reduced dependence and addiction in the workplace as well as added safety benefits.