WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four opioids have been added to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) drug testing panel.
The changes come in a final rule that was published in the Federal Register on Monday and goes into effect on Jan. 1.
The four semi-synthetic opioids that join the DOT’s drug testing panel are hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone. Brand names for those opioids include OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Dilaudid, and Exalgo.
The final rule also adds methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte and removes testing for methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA).
The drug testing expansion comes amid a widely recognized opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2 million people in the U.S. abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2014.
“The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a press release. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”
A spokesman for the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration told School Bus Fleet that the changes in the final rule apply to all entities that are subject to U.S. DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.
For a summary of the drug testing changes and additional information, go to this DOT web page.