The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a final rule yesterday that expands DOT's current drug testing panel to include some semi-synthetic opioids:
- Hydrocodon - Trade names Norco, Vicodin, Lortab, Vicoprofen and Riboxen
- Hydromorphone - Trade name Dilasudid
- Oxymorphone - Trade name Numorphan
- Oxycodone - Trade name Eucodal
DOT-regulated employers will be required to test for these highly abused opioids beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.
This is a direct effort to enhance safety, prevent opioid abuse and combat the nation's growing opioid epidemic. The DOT currently requires drug testing of safety-sensitive employees in the transportation industries.
“The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”
As required by the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991, the DOT is harmonizing with the Department of Health and Human Services' revised Mandatory Guidelines for Federal drug testing programs. The DOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 82 FR 7771 was announced on Jan. 23, 2017, the same day as HHS announced its revisions to the Mandatory Guidelines, 82 FR 7920.
The final rule also lowers the initial and confirmatory test cutoff concentrations for amphetamines and cocaine.
Annual cost for the additional tests are estimated at $5,718,600.