The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced last week.....last week of January 2013...that it has accepted the recommendations of its technical advisory committee, the Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB), and will proceed with revisions to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. The changes will include: (1) expanding the drug testing panel to include additional Schedule II prescription medications (e.g. hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone), prescription painkiller opioid drugs, and (2) including oral fluid as an alternative specimen for Federal workplace drug testing programs. The additions of testing for prescription medications and having oral fluid as a specimen for drugs of abuse testing are seen as measures to strengthen the existing federal drug abuse prevention and control programs.
The revisions to the DHHS Guidelines will establish the laboratory methods, cut-off levels and reporting standards for testing for additional Schedule II controlled substances, including many of the prescription opioid painkiller medications that are more widely prescribed, misused, and abused than ever before. The ability to test for these drugs in the Federal drug testing programs which apply to safety-sensitive and security critical employees in the public and private employment sectors is expected to improve workplace safety and serve to deter and detect misuse and abuse of these substances. (For more information of prescription drug abuse and accidents see EDPM Blog Jan 25, 2012)
The addition of oral fluid as a specimen for drug testing is important on two counts. First, it helps address the continuing concerns about adulteration, substitution, and tampering with urine specimens in workplace testing. Oral fluid specimens are more difficult to compromise. Second, oral fluid collections are essentially an “observed collection” without additional invasion of privacy concerns, and provide an alternative for individuals who cannot produce adequate, acceptable urine specimens for drug testing purposes.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has voiced its support for SAMHSA’s actions, and will follow with rulemaking to amend its drug testing regulations that govern drug testing of over 9 million workers in transportation occupations. The DOT is required by law to follow HHS procedures for the drugs for which it tests and the specimens it tests.
This is GOOD NEWS for workplace drug testing! It will give employers more tools in achieving drug-free workplaces and improve the efficacy of drug testing programs. The frustration for everyone is that it will not happen overnight! The federal rulemaking process is a deliberate one and there will be many months ahead of proposed rules, comment periods, further evaluation and data collection, final regulations, and implementation schedules. BUT….it’s progress! The strength of the Federal drug testing regulations over the past two plus decades has been the thoroughness with which the procedures, processes, legal implications, and other factors have been vetted and examined by all the stakeholders—and these latest changes will be no exception.
THE ABOVE WAS RELEASED LAST WEEK.
FYI Oxy is from made from thebain not the poppy. There is lots of confusion on this subject. A standard 5 panel is for opiates...codien, morphine, opium, herion.....now if u have more than a standard 5 panel u can test for synthetic opiates....and that specfically test for those metabolites. I have been in charge of drug testing in many of my positions....or get tested because I work for oil and gas and under the DOT pipeline rule I fall under the emergency response provision....so I know more about this shit than I wish to know.
Also a comapny can give any test they want if it is not under a regulated test...for example under the FMCSR's or the PHMSA Part 199 it is regulated and YOU MUST GIVE THE 5 PANEL. If is not regulated u can give a 12 panel.
Also a lie that many companies will tell you....you have to notify me of any drugs ur on for safety sensative positions....they say if you test positive the doctor will let them know. WRONG. For example I just got a 5 panel for PHMSA and tested positive for amphetamines. I have a script for adderal and that is my buisness. So what happens after u test positive the MRO...Medical Review Officer...will call you and ask if there is a legitimate reason I tested positive. I say yes I am perscribed Adderall. They then verify Perscription and doctor. Under a regulated test they must send a letter to my doc that she needs to respond to within 5 days that Adderral does not affect my safety....as the MRO said these letters are usually a formality because the meds is usually perscribed to make u better! So she send back letter to MRO that its OK. My emplyer never sees this process. They know that somethings up because result takes longer to get...but they are excluded from this process. A non regulated drug test the MRO only verifies that you have a script! Again you employer does not see this...
Oh and here are the Steps to rule making...
-Legislation. The U.S. Congress passes a law, containing an organic statute that creates a new administrative agency, and that outlines general goals the agency is to pursue through its rulemaking. Similarly, Congress may prescribe such goals and rulemaking duties to a pre-existing agency.
-Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This optional step entails publishing the agency's initial analysis of the subject matter, often asking for early public input on key issues. Any data or communications regarding the upcoming rule would be made available to the public for review. Occasionally, a board of potentially affected parties is comprised to do give-and-take bargaining over rulemaking subject-matter which would otherwise result in deadlocked opposition by an interested party. This is commonly called "negotiated rulemaking", and results in more custom-tailored proposed rule.
-Proposed Rule. In this step, the agency publishes the actual proposed regulatory language in the Federal Register; in which a discussion of the justification and analysis behind the rule is printed, as well as the agency's response to any public comment on the advance notice.
-Public comment. Once a proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, a public comment period begins, allowing the public to submit written comments to the agency. Most agencies are required to respond to every issue raised in the comments. Depending on the complexity of the rule, comment periods may last for 30 to even 180 days.
-Final Rule. Usually, the proposed rule becomes the final rule with some minor modifications. In this step, the agency publishes a full response to issues raised by public comments and an updated analysis and justification for the rule, including an analysis of any new data submitted by the public. In some cases, the agency may publish a second draft proposed rule, especially if the new draft is so different from the proposed rule that it raises new issues that have not been submitted to public comment. This again appears in the Federal Register, and if no further steps are taken by the public or interested parties, is codified into the Code of Federal Regulations.
-Judicial review. In some cases, members of the public or regulated parties file a lawsuit alleging that the rulemaking is improper. While courts generally offer significant deference to the agency's technical expertise, they do review closely whether the regulation exceeds the rulemaking authority granted by the authorizing legislation and whether the agency properly followed the process for public notice and comment.
-Effective date. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the rule does not become effective for some time after its initial publication to allow regulated parties to come into compliance. Some rules provide several years for compliance.
-"Hybrid" rulemaking. Not a legal term of art, but describes the kind of rulemaking performed by agencies that is somewhere between formal (with a hearing and record) and informal (with the notice and comment procedures described above). Hybrid rulemaking generally subsumes procedural aspects reserved for adjudication, such as a formal hearing in which interested parties are sworn and subject to cross examination.