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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New DOT Drug Testing Procedures

By: Tommy Eden, Attorney

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is revising certain drug testing procedures to conform its testing rules to new rules being implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services. Changes become effective October 1, 2010. The full regulation is found at:

7 DOT Mandated Changes:

1. Requires testing for Ecstasy (MDMA) with initial screening cut-off concentration at 500 ng/ml and confirmatory cut-off concentration at 250 ng/ml.

2. Cutoff concentrations for cocaine have been lowered. The initial (screening) test cutoff drops from 300 ng/ml to 150 ng/ml, and the confirmatory test cutoff concentration has been lowered from 150 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml;

3. Cutoff concentrations for amphetamines have been lowered. The initial (screening) test cutoff has been lowered from 1,000 ng/ml to 500 ng/ml, and the confirmatory test cutoff concentration has been lowered from 500 ng/ml to 250 ng/ml;

4. Initial testing for 6-acetylmorphine (“6-AM”) (a unique metabolite of heroin, considered to be definitive proof of heroin use) is now required. Specific rules have been added to address the way in which Medical Review Officers (“MROs”) analyze and verify confirmed positive test results for 6-AM, codeine and morphine;

5. Modified certain definitions. Revised definitions of “adulterated specimen,” “confirmatory drug test,” “initial drug test,” “invalid drug test,” “laboratory” and “limit of detection;”

6. Added some new terms and definitions. New definitions include “initial specimen validity test,” “limit of quantitation,” “negative result,” “positive result,” “reconfirmed,” “rejected for testing,” and “split specimen collection;” and

7. MRO training and qualifications have been revised.

Common Sense Counsel: All DOT-regulated employers should update their drug and alcohol testing policies to incorporate these changes by the October 1st implementation date and conduct updated supervisor reasonable suspicion training to include Ecstacy and provide notice of these changes to all DOT covered employees. Those employers who fail to do so risk DOT fines of up to $10,000. On September 24, 2010 from 7:30am to 9:30am an updated DOT Compliant Supervisor Reasonable Suspicion training course will be offered by EASHRM with trainers Dr. Garth Stauffer and Tommy Eden, Attorney, at a cost of $15 per person at the EAMC Health Resource Center. Sample Employee Notices will be provided as part of the course materials. To register contact Angel Scott at for more information.

Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at or 334-246-2901. Blog at