Opioid Abuse in Transportation Act Signed into Law

Lindsey Bergeron

November 15, 2018 – A legislative package signed into law by President Trump could mean major changes for your DOT drug testing program.

Known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the package is designed to combat the worsening opioid crisis in this country by cracking down on the illegal import of fentanyl, improving access to substance abuse treatment programs and putting resources into the development of nonaddictive painkillers. According to President Trump, it is the “single largest bill to combat the drug crisis in the history of this country.”

Within the legislation is the “Fighting Opioid Abuse in Transportation Act” which could bring significant changes to how transportation employees are screened for drug and alcohol use (and what they’re screened for).

5 Takeaways from the “Fighting Opioid Abuse in Transportation Act”

  1. Mechanical rail employees and yardmasters must be included in the FRA’s random drug and alcohol testing program. A final rule will need to be published in the Federal Register before this change takes effect. According to Section 8102 in the Act, the DOT has two years to publish the rule.
  1. The DOT must establish a public database of drug and alcohol testing results by March 31, 2019. Once created, employers will be responsible for uploading data about their drug and alcohol testing programs. This includes the total number of drug and alcohol tests conducted, the results of those tests by substance type, the reason the test was conducted and the number of individuals who refused testing.
  1. Fentanyl May be Included on the DOT Drug Testing Panel. Within the next six months, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources will determine whether the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs should be expanded to include fentanyl, as well as any other Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance. If the recommendation is to include these substances on the DOT testing panel, these changes would take effect in the next few years.
  1. Hair Testing & Oral Fluid Guidelines Will be Coming. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has 60 days to provide an update on the status of the hair testing guidelines that were due in December 2016. They must also publish a final notice in the Federal Register that provides guidelines on oral fluid testing by the end of 2018.
  1. The Status of the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Will be Tracked More Closely. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must provide an updated schedule for implementing the Clearinghouse, which is due to go into effect by January 6, 2020. The initial update is due within 60 days.

About the Author

Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.

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