eTrends - U.S. Department of Transportation Final Rule Amends Certain Drug Testing Procedures

Effective October 1, 2010, the United States Department of Transportation is amending certain drug testing procedures relating to laboratory testing of urine specimens. The changes, as well as the modifications of certain definitions in the Department of Transportation’s drug testing rules, will create consistency between the drug testing rules of the Department of Transportation and those of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Changes made by the final rule include:

  • employers must now test for Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as Ecstasy;
  • drug test cutoff levels for both cocaine and amphetamines are lowered (300 ng/ml to 150 ng/ml and 1000 ng/ml to 500 ng/ml, respectively for initial screening);
  • initial testing for the heroin marker, 6-acetylmorphine (“6-AM,” a unique metabolite of heroin) is required; and
  • certain changes to medical review officer (MRO) training and qualification requirements are made.

The new rule will affect all commercial drivers subject to Department of Transportation drug testing. Therefore, Department of Transportation-regulated employers should review their drug testing programs to ensure compliance with the new requirements by the effective date of October 1, 2010.

Please contact Susan Milner Parrott with any questions.

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