Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Sep 07, 2010

DOT revises drug test rules, adds Ecstasy to tested substances

Drug and Alcohol 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has updated its drug testing rules, effective October 1, 2010. The rules affect all DOT-regulated drug tests, such as those required for commercial motor vehicle drivers and aircraft mechanics (75 Fed Reg 49850, Aug 16, 2010). Most importantly for employers, the new rules:

  • Add a new substance, Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy), to the panel of drugs for which the laboratory must test;
  • Lower the cutoff levels for cocaine (to 150 ng/mL for initial tests and 100 ng/mL for confirmation tests);
  • Lower the cutoff levels for amphetamines (to 500 ng/mL for initial tests and 250 ng/mL for confirmation tests);
  • Require initial tests to include a test for 6-Acetylmorphine (6-AM) (previously it was limited to confirmation tests where the specimen showed a morphine concentration of at least 2000 ng/mL); and
  • Tighten up the procedures for the Medical Review Officer (MRO) to evaluate and verify test results for codeine and morphine.

Tips: Update and redistribute your DOT drug testing policy to covered employees and applicants by the October 1 effective date of the new rules. If you have commercial motor vehicle drivers, see Vigilant’s Model Policy, “DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy for Drivers” (1530). If your DOT-regulated employees are represented by a union, notify the union if your contract language needs to be revised or updated.

For workers who aren’t regulated by DOT, many employers nonetheless follow the DOT cutoff levels in their drug and alcohol policy or labor agreement. Depending on how the language is worded, you may need to revise your policy to bring it in line with DOT’s new standards. 

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