Last updated: November 27, 2023
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is requesting the public’s response. They’re asking for public comment as to whether or not they should add the synthetic opioid, fentanyl, to its government-mandated employee drug test.
Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic opioid that is found in all types of illicit drugs today. That’s because it’s used as a filler which means it’s mixed into the product being promoted for sale to increase the bulk. Because it’s so potent, it gives the drug an extra kick and it’s highly addictive so promotes return business. The problem is that this drug is extremely toxic and people are dying instead of buying more.
This scourge on society prompted SAMHSA to publish a notice on October 17, 2023, in the Federal Register to announce that the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s (CSAP) Drug Testing Advisory Board ((DTAB) will come together via a web conference on December 5, 2023. A number of topics will be discussed, among them, the Board will discuss the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Testing Programs and whether or not Fentanyl should be added to the mix.
SAMHSA is requesting public input as to whether or not to include Fentanyl/Norfentanyl in the federal government’s mandated employee drug test lineup. It’s specifically hoping to hear from employers in the trucking industry.
A call to employers
All employers of the safety-sensitive workforce, are advised to keep abreast of the final decision as it could change the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) drug testing program. If that is the case, changes will be found under 49 CFR Part 40. That is, should the DOT decide to conduct its own rulemaking on the issue.
Your comments can be submitted before the DTAB meeting, during, and up to 30 days following the event. The deadline to submit comments is January 4, 2024. Written comments may be submitted to the following: [email protected].
Employers, employees, and testing service providers who are involved in the DOT drug testing program should be made aware of the proposed change. Inform yourselves and reach out to leave your thoughts.
Plan to attend the web conference, perhaps. At the very least, let the DTAB know where you stand on the matter.
Overdose deaths continue to rise
Every part of our nation feels the devastating effects of drug addiction and abuse. It has affected every family to some degree. Far too many of us know friends and loved ones suffering from addiction. And 100 of them lose their lives to opioid overdose every single day—that’s up from 44 in 2020.
Handing out Narcan to addicts along with their syringes so they can “do drugs safely” isn’t cutting it. We have to do more. Adding Fentanyl/Norfentanyl to the SAMHSA drug testing program is a positive step forward. Yes, it may seem like one small step, but that’s how we eventually win.
One step at a time.