Changes in Federal Drug Laws to Affect DOT Testing

On January 27, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) approved two recommended changes from the Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB) to current federal drug testing guidelines used by agencies such as the Department of Transportation. DTAB’s recommendations were to accept oral fluids testing in addition to urinalysis and to add certain prescription drugs such oxycodone—which includes the popular branded drug OxyContin—to the list of substances currently tested for. 

DTAB is a scientific council that advises SAMHSA on drug testing issues such as areas for emphasis or de-emphasis and important technological developments.

“SAMHSA has long resisted requests to permit testing of bodily fluids other than urine,” says MSEC attorney Curtis Graves. “Apparently, SAMHSA feels that oral fluids testing is now sufficiently valid and reliable scientifically to permit chain-of-custody testing at its approved laboratories.”

It is unknown when these changes might take effect, but the DOT has issued the following statement: “DOT is required by law to follow [federal] procedures for the drugs for which they test and the specimens they test. Therefore, the DOT will continue to work … to bring these approved recommendations to realization in our regulations and throughout the law.”