Published in the Federal Register is a Department of Transportation Final Rule:   Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs


The following is a summary of the Final Rule:

1)      The Department is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act (Omnibus Act) to follow the HHS requirements for the testing procedures/protocols and drugs for which we test.

 2)      Primary laboratory requirements in this final rule include:

             - Testing for MDMA (aka. Ecstasy);

            - Lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines;

            - Conducting mandatory initial testing for heroin;

 3)      The Department brought several testing definitions in-line with those of HHS.

4)      Each Medical Review Officer (MRO) will need to be re-qualified – including passing an examination given by an MRO training organization - every five years.  The Final Rule eliminated the requirement for each MRO to take 12 hours of continuing education every three years.

 5)      An MRO will not need to be trained by an HHS-approved MRO training organization as long as the MRO meets DOT’s qualification and requalification training requirements.

6)      MRO recordkeeping requirements did not change from the five years for non-negatives and one year for negatives.

 7)      The Final Rule does not allow the use of HHS-Certified Instrumented Initial Testing Facilities (IITFs) to conduct initial drug testing because the Omnibus Act requires laboratories to be able to perform both initial and confirmation testing but IITFs cannot conduct confirmation testing.

8)      The Final Rule is effective October 1, 2010.

 You can view the Final Rule at the Federal Register’s website:

The document will also be available on the ODAPC website later today at

Jim L. Swart


Office of Drug and Alcohol

Policy and Compliance

June 22, 2010

For Immediate Release

For More Information Contact: Lana Beck (727) 828-0211 or (727) 403-7571


Direct Observation Collections
Mandatory for Return-to-Duty and Follow-Up Testing
Beginning August 31, 2009

On July 30, 2009, ODAPC published a Final Rule in the Federal Register which restores mandatory direct observation (DO) collections for all return-to-duty and follow-up testing. This DO drug testing rule is applicable to return-to-duty, safety-sensitive transportation industry employees who have already failed or refused to take a prior drug test.

The start date for mandatory DO for return-to-duty and follow-up testing is August 31, 2009. All employees who go for return-to-duty and follow-up tests on and after the effective date must have their collections observed. This includes employees currently in follow-up testing programs who will still be in those programs on and after August 31st.

Some employers and labor organizations may have entered into collective bargaining agreements that prohibit or limit the use of DO collections in return-to-duty and follow-up testing situations. When this final rule goes into effect, conducting all follow-up and return-to-duty testing using DO collections will be a requirement of Federal law.

Safety is the highest priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and restoring our direct observation drug testing rules helps to support this mission.

You can link to the Final Rule on the Federal Register website at:

Final Federal Workplace Drug Testing Guidelines Allow Broader Use of Urine Specimen Testing.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) today published a Final Notice of Revisions to its Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs (Guidelines).  The Guidelines establish the scientific and technical guidelines for the Federal workplace drug testing programs and establish standards for certification of laboratories engaged in drug testing for Federal agencies by addressing the collection and testing of urine specimens, the requirements for the certification of Instrumented Initial Test Facilities (IITFs), and the role of and standards for collectors and Medical Review Officers (MROs).

The final revisions to the Guidelines announced today in the Federal Register are based on proposed 2004 revisions which emphasized the important role testing of urine specimens plays in the deterrence of substance abuse in the Federal workplace. The final revisions incorporate tests for a broader range of illicit substances, and establish new procedures for ensuring the reliability and accuracy of urine drug testing.

The final revisions to the Guidelines expand the use of enhanced versions of these tests to cover a broader range of illicit substances including:

• 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “Ecstasy,” or “Adam”)
• 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA or “Love Drug”)
• 3,4-methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA or “Eve”)

The final revisions to the Guidelines take a more cautious approach than the 2004 proposals, however, regarding the proposed use of alternative specimens and techniques in Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.  These alternative methods include testing hair, oral fluid, sweat patch specimens and point of collection testing (instant screening kits) for urine specimen testing.  Although the 2004 proposals had raised the possibility of incorporating these potentially promising testing methods into the final guidelines, HHS has determined that further study and analysis is needed.

“These final drug testing guidelines will continue to protect the public’s health and safety,” said  SAMHSA’s acting administrator, Eric Broderick, D.D.S, M.P.H. “However, we recognize that there are other emerging technologies and approaches that may enhance the nature and scope of drug screening efforts, and we will do everything we can to help aid their development.”    

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), SAMHSA’s parent organization, believes that the addition of alternative specimens to the Federal Workplace Drug Testing Program would complement urine drug testing and aid in combating the risks posed from available methods of suborning urine drug testing through adulteration, substitution, and dilution.  Thus, HHS will continue to pursue testing using alternative specimens. 

As part of the continued review process for these alternative tests, HHS and SAMHSA plan to issue a notice in the Federal Register requesting information and assistance from the general public to provide or identify data and research findings that address specific areas of interest. HHS anticipates issuing further revisions to the Mandatory Guidelines addressing the use of alternative specimens and the use of point of collection testing devices for urine and oral fluid.  These revisions will be published in the Federal Register, with opportunity for public comment.

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation's substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment, and mental health services delivery system.