The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) made a final ruling yesterday on the proposed rules to include opioids in their drug testing program.  Originally proposed in January of 2017, the ruling is now final and will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

The DOT drug testing program will now include testing for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone.  In addition, methylenedioxyamphetamine has been added as an intial test analyte, and methylenedioxyethylamphetamine has been removed as a confirmatory test analyte. The addition of hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone to the drug panel is in response to the current opioid crisis.  These four semi-synthetic opioids have been added to provide consistency as mandated by Federal statute, OTETA, and applies not only to specimen testing validity values but also to initial and confirmatory testing values.

These revisions now harmonize DOT testing regulations with the HHS Mandatory Guidelines that were revised earlier this year.  The HHS guidelines apply to Federal drug-testing programs for urine testing, and were established by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition to changes to the DOT drug testing panel, the ruling yesterday clarifies existing drug testing program provisions and definitions, makes technical amendments, and removes the requirement for employers and Consortium/Third Party Administrators (TPAs) to submit blind specimens.