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HHS Updates Federal Workplace Drug Testing Panel - Adds Opioids

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In January 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs for urine drug testing. These go into effect October 1, 2017. Employers should understand how these may affect their Department of Transportation (DOT) workplace drug testing programs. Also, they should be proactive in implementing any changes. 

The opioid crisis in the United States has been in the media spotlight lately. Even President Trump declared the opioid crisis in the U.S. a national emergency. It seems that the Federal Workplace Drug Testing Panel has been overdue for an update. 

HHS Revisions

HHS and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a notice. It described adding four schedule II semi-synthetic opioids to the federal standard drug testing panel. They're also removing methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDEA) from the standard testing panel. The notice also included suggested actions of service agents and employers. They suggest revising procedures, labor agreements, and policies to:

  • Review and amend their drug-free workplace plan to update the term "opiates" to "opioids" 
  • Notify all federal civilian applicants and employees that:
    • MDEA will no longer be tested on the standard panel
    • Oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone will be added to the standard panel
  • Remind employees of the availability of assistance, treatment, and rehabilitation. These are available through the agency's Employee Assistance Program
  • Before September 15, 2017, notify drug testing service providers of the date that testing of the four semi-synthetic opioids is to begin. This includes collectors, laboratories, and Medical Review Officers, and third-party drug testing administrators. Also, change contracts or agreements. 

How does this affect the DOT Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs?

The DOT is expected to make changes harmonious with HHS under the DOT Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs. Although, the DOT has not issued a final rule authorizing testing for synthetic opioids.

Update 11/13/2017: The DOT issued a final rule authorizing testing for synthetic opioids.

New Federal Custody and Control Form

In relation to these changes, they have issued a new Federal Custody and Control Form. The 'old' (2010 version) of the Federal CCF is approved for use until June 30, 2018. 

The revised CCF includes the following changes:

  • In Step 1D:
    • Removal of the checkbox, the letters “DOT” and hash line in front of the text “Specify DOT Agency” 
  • In Step 5A:
    • Addition of four new analytes (oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone)
    • Removal of the analyte methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDEA)

Employers should update their Federal Workplace Drug Testing Program policies and procedures to reflect these changes. Employers regulated by the DOT may continue to use the old CCF and drug testing panel until further notice from the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC)

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6509 Last modified on Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Hagen DeRouen

Co-founder & CEO at Screensoft. 10+ years of experience with employment screening program management and guidance. Certifications including FCRA basic, MRO assistant, and professional collector trainer.