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What Drugs Does a DOT Drug Screen Test For?

To reduce the number of accidents directly related to drug and alcohol use, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) works hard in maintaining a drug and alcohol-free workplace. Part of this program is subjecting all safety-sensitive employees to the DOT drug screen test as part of their pre-employment screening

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the sector of DOT that monitors commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries, implements a regulatory compliance and enforcement program to ensure the safety performance of all carriers.

Am I required to undergo the DOT drug screen test?

Positions that require the performance of safety-sensitive tasks such as truck drivers, aircraft maintenance, and train dispatchers are subject to the DOT drug screen test.

Managers and supervisors may also be required to take the test as part of their pre-employment screening because they may be asked to perform a safety-sensitive job in the event of an emergency.

What drugs does the DOT drug screen test for?

To determine substance abuse, the urine sample of the examinee will be tested for the following drugs and metabolites:

  • Marijuana metabolites/THC
  • Amphetamines
  • Phencyclidine
  • Cocaine metabolites
  • Opiates

If you’re taking medications and over-the-counter drugs, you will have to provide proof that the medicine is prescribed to you by a licensed physician.

Aside from pre-employment screening, can they test me for other reasons?

Yes. You may be required to submit to a DOT drug screen test due to reasonable suspicion. However, the suspicion must not be based on guess alone. There must be observations of your behavior and appearance that may be associated with substance abuse. 

If you’ve violated the policies concerning alcohol and drug use, you are also required to take a drug test before returning to duty. Follow-up tests are also mandatory. 

Under the DOT regulations, unannounced random drug testing must also be conducted to guarantee that the employees are following the regulations concerning drug abuse. 

How is the test administered?

The drug testing process will start with the collection of the examinee’s urine sample. The sample must be collected in a secure collection site to avoid tampering contamination.

After collection, the laboratory will conduct a specimen validity test to check if the sample was not adulterated or substituted. The drug screening test will follow. A urine sample that tested positive for substance abuse will be examined again using a different testing method. 

Can I refuse to be tested?

Based on the regulations implemented by the DOT, you are not allowed to refuse a test. Failure to appear for a test and not cooperating during any part of the testing process also indicates refusal on your part.

In the event where you don’t agree with the purpose of the test, we suggest you take the test anyway. You can dispute it with your employer after taking the test. The DOT agency drug and alcohol program office may also assist you.

What will happen if I tested positive?

Employers are required to immediately forbid you to perform safety-sensitive jobs. You may also lose your certification or license to perform your job. However, there are industry-specific policies that regulate these matters. 

The best you can do while moving forward is to seek help. There are a lot of resources available that will confidentially help you with your substance abuse problem.