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DOT posts rule on drug tests

Jill Dunn | August 17, 2010

The U.S. Department of Transportation has amended its drug testing procedures, including adding initial and confirmation testing for Ecstasy, lowering the initial and confirmation cutoff concentrations for amphetamines and cocaine, and new rules affecting heroin testing.

The DOT amended urine specimen testing procedures to create consistency with many, but not all, of the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule, it said in its Aug. 16 final rule.

The department published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Feb. 4 and this final rule is effective Oct. 1.
The new rule requires testing for 6-acetylemorphine, or 6-AM, an intermediate metabolite between heroin and morphine, present for a short time after using heroin.

Some of the rule changes affect medical review officers’ training and procedures.

The DOT received several comments asking hair be tested instead of urine. The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 authorizes the DOT only to use testing methods approved by the DHHS. So far, DHHS has not approved any specimen testing except urine.

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