Implementing Non-DOT and DOT drug testing policies in the workplace
Implementing Non-DOT and DOT drug testing policies in the workplace can be greatly beneficial to the employer, employee and general public. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) regulations, otherwise referred to as 49 CFR Part 40, are considered the “Gold Standard” in the drug and alcohol testing industry. The procedures set forth in the regulations are straight forward in regards to implementing and maintaining a DOT or Regulated drug testing program. The guidelines also assist in the procedural requirements resulting from positive drug or alcohol test results. As such, many companies adopt 49 CFR Part 40 regulations and procedures for their own Non-DOT or Non-Regulated drug and alcohol testing programs but choose to expand upon Federal regulations to include testing for different types of drugs, additional reasons to test and increase the employee testing pool
Currently the DOT policy is lacking or perhaps a little outdated when it comes to the types of drugs employers are allowed to test for in their employees. Currently, the DOT regulations require employers to test for Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates (Codeine, Morphine and Heroin) and PCP. However, other forms of drug use are on the rise and are currently going undetected by companies only testing under DOT Regulations.
Here are some mind-blowing statistics:
- “The United States makes up 5% of the world’s population and consumes 75% of the world’s prescription drugs.” – Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
- “In the US alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs.” – Source: Foundation for a Drug-Free World
- “Most abused prescription drugs fall under 3 categories: painkillers – 5.1 million; tranquilizers/depressants – 2.2 million; stimulants – 1.1 million.” – Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
With this data in mind, one might think that the DOT would expand their drug testing panel requirements to include Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Benzodiazepines (Benzos). Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are considered “Synthetic Opiates” and are not picked up under the Opiates in the DOT’s 5-panel. Benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and Ativan, none of which are tested under Regulated testing guidelines.
If employers are going to succeed in their efforts in creating a drug-free workplace, they need to implement drug testing programs to include more than the minimum 5-panel required by DOT regulations. Implementing Non-DOT and DOT drug testing policies in the workplace will allow employers to expand upon their testing requirements and test all employees for more drug types and for more reasons. Both Non-DOT and DOT drug testing programs would greatly serve to protect employers, and improve overall safety for their employees and general public.