By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer
According to a recently published final rule in the Federal Register, The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is amending procedures for transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing programs in an effort to create consistency with many new requirements established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Full details of the final rule – which takes effect October 1, 2010 – are available at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-20095.pdf. Some of the changes will affect the training of and procedures used by Medical Review Officers (MROs). Highlights of these changes include the following:
- DOT now requires drug testing for Ecstasy (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA). The initial screening cut-off concentration for MDMA will be 500 ng/ml and the confirmatory cut-off concentration will be 250 ng/ml for MDMA, as well as Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and Methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA), drugs that are chemically similar to Ecstasy;
- The drug test cutoff concentrations for cocaine have been lowered. The initial screening test cutoff drops from 300 ng/ml to 150 ng/ml, and the confirmatory test cutoff concentration has been lowered from 150 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml;
- The drug test cutoff concentrations for amphetamines have been lowered. The initial screening test cutoff has been lowered from 1,000 ng/ml to 500 ng/ml, and the confirmatory drug test cutoff concentration has been lowered from 500 ng/ml to 250 ng/ml; and
- Initial drug testing for 6-acetylmorphine (“6-AM,” a unique metabolite of heroin, considered to be definitive proof of heroin use) is now required. Specific rules have been added to address the way in which Medical Review Officers (“MROs”) analyze and verify confirmed positive drug test results for 6-AM, codeine, and morphine.
To ensure the safety of employees and to promote a safety conscious work environment, certain companies require a drug test for all new employees as a condition of employment, and a drug screen subsequent to a reportable traffic accident and a reportable workers compensation injury for current employees in certain occupations.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) offers drug testing services as part of a comprehensive Safe Hiring Program that also includes employment/educational verifications and criminal background checks. For more information, visit the ESR website at http://www.ESRcheck.com.