The D.O.T. vs. Opioid Addiction

Drug testing isn’t as simple as it used to be.  Years ago, everyone was just concerned about the major drugs: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, etc.  But with the increasing amount of prescription drug abuse, employers and Medical Review Officers (MRO’s) have a lot more to be on the lookout for now.  Currently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is working on adding several common pain medications to the list of substances they test for in their drug screening process. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone and hydromorphone are the most widely abused of all pain killers, and are steadily becoming a major cause of work-related accidents.

The difficulty with testing for these drugs is determining whether the drugs have been taken illegally, or were legitimately prescribed by a doctor. The addition the DOT is proposing will break down the drugs already tested for into a few more specific versions so that it’s easier for the MRO to differentiate between illegal and legally prescribed drugs.

At this point, the timing isn’t certain when this change will roll out, but it will most likely be around the end of the year or the beginning of the next year. Because it is not clear yet when the rule changes are going into effect, we are still waiting to see what effect this will have on Worker Care’s drug screen costs.

As a result of possible upcoming changes to the Chain of Custody Forms (CCFs) used for drug screens, Worker Care is taking steps to convert the forms into an electronic format, which will help eliminate errors, and enable virtually instantaneous transfers of our information to sites collecting drug screens on our behalf.

As these changes begin to take effect, we’ll make sure to keep you updated on how they may impact your business.  And as always, if you ever any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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