A quick primer on their role will help you understand some of the following information shared at our recent SAPAA Annual meeting, by Patrice M. Kelly, J.D., Acting Director of ODAPC.

ODAPC is housed within the Department of Transportation and each of the modes look to it for standardized procedures.  40 CFR Part 40 is their domain and they are limited on the laboratory testing side as they must follow Health and Human Service (HHS) guidelines for approved laboratories and which substances to test for.

The following data was shared as part of the presentation:

  • The positive rate for Cocaine rose after declining for the past three years.
  • The positive rate for Opiates declined slightly after rising over the past 6 years.
  • The positive rate for PCP remains low, with fewer than 1,400 people testing positive for it each year, but this hallucinogenic and pain-suppressing drug poses extreme safety concerns that merit the continued testing for it.
  • The number of tests indicating some tampering (possible cheating) has been declining for the past three years but is a continuing concern.

My note:  This coincides with moving to mandatory direct observation for any return to duty or follow-up.  Getting the method expanded to Saliva and Hair will make the tests even harder to beat.  Those companies that do Hair or Saliva specimen samples, in addition to Urine see an increased positive rate.

What is new?

HHS will implement synthetic opioids testing on October 1, 2017 and then DOT will implement its final rule after it is published in the Federal Register.  You can sign up for the ODAPC list serve, which is great way to keep tabs on what is happening.

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What about the Commercial Driver Database?

Don’t hold your breath. The contractors have not yet been chosen to develop the database.  Not to mention still needing to work with every state.

What about Hair and Saliva in addition to Urine?

DOT must await HHS around both the comprehensive standards for laboratory controlled substances testing and the appropriate standards for certifying and reviewing labs.