New guidelines are in the works for those who conduct workplace drug-testing programs. In January 2017, the federal Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees these guidelines, published a few adjustments to the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. The new guidelines are set to take effect Oct. 1.
The following descriptions can get a little confusing if you’re not intimately familiar with workplace drug-testing policy, so feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about how these changes might affect your workplace drug-testing program. This article also has a little more information.
Our Washington State BAT training company gives frequent talks on drug and alcohol recognition to company supervisors. We frequently update our presentations because guidelines on drugs and results are constantly changing; we work hard to stay on top of this ever-changing industry so you don’t have to.
In this case, the biggest update is that the revised guidelines allow federal executive branch agencies to test for additional Schedule II drugs, such as oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone, in federal drug-free workplace programs.
The revised guidelines also allow federal agencies to authorize collection of an alternate specimen, such as saliva, when a donor is unable to provide enough urine during a test.
Other changes include the removal of methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA) from the authorized drugs, the addition of add methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as something to be measured in initial tests, the raising of the lower pH cutoff from 3 to 4 for identifying specimens as adulterated, and a requirement that medical review officers participate in requalification training and re-examination at least every five years after their initial MRO certification.
In response to the new guidelines from Health and Human Services, the federal Department of Transportation has proposed some adjustments to its Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs.
Among other changes, the DOT’s proposal includes adding hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone) to its drug-testing panel, as recommended by HHS. The proposal also would add MDA as an initial test analyte and remove MDEA as a confirmatory test analyte. An analyte is simply any substance that is measured in a drug test. The full announcement from the DOT is here, if you want to browse the proposal on your own.