We have more clarification around The 49 CFR Part 40 Final Rule, effective January 1, 2018.  Thank you to SAPAA (Substance Abuse Program Administrator Association)?

Modification of the Drug Testing Panel – We confirmed there is no need to get new Custody and Control Forms (CCFs) and there is no change for employers and the same MRO verification process will be conducted.

MRO Practice Issues – There is no direct impact or change for employers, but to allow MRO’s to truly determine what and what is not a valid prescription.  Specifically:

  1. Please note this one!!!! – The requirement for the MRO to report to third parties significant safety concerns about the use of medications remains; however, the MRO must now provide the employee with up to five days after reporting the verified negative result to have the prescribing physician contact the MRO to determine if the medications can be changed to one that does not make the employee medically unqualified or that does not pose a significant safety risk before reporting the “safety concern.”
  2. Clarifies that MROs cannot accept “medical marijuana” use as a legitimate medical explanation for a THC positive test.
  3. MROs can, without DOT approval, request laboratories perform additional testing for d & l isomer amphetamine and methamphetamine and THC-V (a metabolite specific to marijuana and not found in Marinol (pharmaceutical THC)). The decision to request the additional testing is wholly the MRO’s.

Blind Specimens – This has no impact to employers.  It removes the requirement for very large employers and Third Party Administrators (TPA’s)

ODAPC List-Serve – No impact to employers   It is hoped that service agents (Specimen collectors, MROs, BATs & STTs, and SAPs) will stay more up to date on changes and best practices

Fatal Flaws and Questionable Specimens – No impact to employers.  Just adds a few collector errors that cause a cancelled test to be a fatal flaws, requiring the collector to be re-trained and to clarify a “temp out of range” scenario.

Other Revisions or Clarifications – These should not be an issue for employers.

  1. DNA testing cannot be performed on DOT drug test specimens.
  2. Only urine specimens are permitted for DOT drug testing under Part 40.
  3. The DOT drug testing panel remains “five drug classes” with the opiates category being changed to opioids.
  4. Laboratory positives of <15,000 ng/ml morphine or codeine continue to require additional clinical evidence of opiate abuse/misuse for the MRO to verify as positive.
  5. The DOT does not approve, certify, or endorse drug/alcohol testing program service agents and use of a DOT or DOT agency logo, title, or emblem by service agents is prohibited.