Transportation Federal agencies Drugs Transportation

Drug-testing for DOT employees expanded to include opioids

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Washington – The Department of Transportation will include four semi-synthetic opioids in its drug-testing program for DOT employees, according to a final rule published in the Nov. 13 Federal Register.

Employees affected include those who work for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and U.S. Coast Guard.

Aligning with an October update from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, DOT will test its employees for oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone, which go by brand names such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet and Dilaudid.

The final rule is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1.

More than 33,000 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a Nov. 13 bulletin. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”

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