President Trump on Oct. 24 signed into law comprehensive legislation aimed at combating the nation’s opioid crisis. Of importance to truckstops that operate commercial vehicles, the bill, which cleared Congress with near-unanimous approval, contains provisions on hair testing for drivers.
The law directs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to report to Congress on its progress issuing guidelines for hair testing. In addition, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is required within 60 days to report to the Senate Commerce and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees on the status for hair testing guidelines, the reasons for delay in issuing guidelines, and a schedule – including benchmarks and an estimated date of delivery – for completion of the guidelines.
The bill also contains reporting requirements on the development of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and a deadline for completing work on oral fluids testing.
Federal law requires trucking companies to drug test new drivers and randomly test existing drivers. Currently, SAMHSA only recognizes the test method of urinalysis. As a result, fleets that want to conduct hair testing currently must perform both types of tests. Once DHS completes its hair testing guidelines, fleets that choose to conduct hair sample tests won’t also need to conduct a urine analysis test.
Hair testing provides employers with a longer detection window, easier collection and results that are harder to adulterate. The FAST Act required HHS to issue scientific and technical guidelines for hair testing by December 2016 – a deadline which was missed.
In 2017, President Trump declared the opiod crisis a national public health emergency and directed all executive agencies to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight the opioid crisis.
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