Greetings from the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association’s 2011 Annual Conference in Nashville. Monday marked the opening of the general sessions and featured six presentations by industry experts representing the DOT’s Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other agencies and organizations. Highlights included sessions by Patrice Kelly, ODAPC Deputy Director, and Dr. Donna Smith, who serves on SAMHSA’s Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB).

The big news coming out of the conference is that on July 13 DTAB unanimously voted to recommend to SAMHSA’s Administrator that Oral Fluid Testing be allowed for Federal tests and that Schedule II drugs (e.g., expanded opiates) be added to the Federal panel. Sadly though, projections say that an actual implementation is, at best, four years away.  Still, the recommendations are an important first step.

Other speakers included DEA Special Agent Stan Jones and the National Substance Abuse Professional Network’s Bob Bruner, who discussed Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) issues. There’s another full plate of presentations scheduled for today. Look for another update from me soon!