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Synthetic Opioids May be Coming to Your DOT Drug Testing Panel
Scott Mogensen
2 mins read

On January 23, the Department of Transportation published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register that proposes some amendments to the current DOT-regulated drug and alcohol testing requirements.

Specifically, the DOT is looking to broaden the testing of opiates to include synthetic opioids. Traditionally, the five-panel test includes “opiates,” specifically codeine, morphine, and heroin.  Under the proposal, this will be changed to “opioids,” a broader term which includes opiates and semi-synthetic prescription compounds (i.e. hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone). Semi-synthetic opioids interact with the body’s chemical systems in the same way as natural opiates and, because they produce similar effects to their natural counterpart, they are also prone to misuse.

The DOT is also proposing amendments that will:

  • Make changes to the specific substances that will determine a positive once a drug specimen has reached the laboratory. This includes removing methylenedioxyethlamphetamine (MDEA) as a confirmatory test analyte from the existing drug panel and adding methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte.
  • Remove existing Part 40 requirements related to blind specimen testing. Finding that this provision is not cost beneficial, they are proposing eliminating the blind-specimen requirement as “a burden-relieving measure for affected entitles (e.g. employers).”

The DOT is currently accepting comments to these proposed changes. Comments to the notice of proposed rulemaking should be submitted by March 24, 2017 by Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.regulations.gov) or by mail to Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., West Building, Ground Floor Room W12-140., Washington, DC 20590-0001

 

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