The Department of Transportation will add four prescription opioids– hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone– to the DOT drug-testing panel that is used to screen safety-sensitive transportation workers, including truck drivers.
“Inclusion of these four semi-synthetic opioids is intended to help address the nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse,” DOT said in its rule-making notice to be published today in the Federal Register. “Also, adding these four drugs, which are already tested for in many transportation employers’ non-DOT testing programs because of their widespread use and potentially impairing effect, will allow the DOT to detect a broader range of drugs being used illegally. Transportation industries are not immune to this trend and the safety issues it raises.”
DOT also announced that the final rule adds the drug methylenedioxyamphetamine as an initial test analyte and removes the drug methylenedioxyethylamphetamine as a confirmatory test analyte. In addition, the rule does away with the requirement for employers and consortium/third-party administrators to submit blind specimens.
The agency said that the revisions to 49 CFR Part 40 “harmonize” DOT regulations with revised Department of Health and Human Services “mandatory guidelines” for federal drug-testing programs for urine testing.
The rule was originally proposed in January of this year and received 52 comments. 41 comments supported the revised rule. The agency said those supporters “generally recognized the need for the Department to act consistently with the HHS Mandatory Guidelines and agreed that addressing opioid abuse issues in the context of transportation safety is important.”