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New DOT Drug Testing Regulations

Effective October 1, 2010, new U.S. Department of Transportation drug testing regulations take effect. Under the new regulations, covered employers will be required to test individuals using a 7-panel drug test, up from the former 5-panel. The two news substances for which testing will be required include MDMA, commonly known as "Ecstasy", and Acetylmorphines which indicate heroin usage. In addition, both the initial and confirmatory test cut-off levels for Amphetamines and Cocaine will be lowered.

It is expected that these changes will enable employers to better detect illegal drug usage by their employees. Many employers who are not directly covered by the Department of Transportation's drug testing requirements (most commonly applied to drivers with commercial driver's licenses) test their employees under the DOT's drug testing rules. This includes Tennessee employers who participate in the Tennessee Drug-Free Workplace Program.

Tennessee employers who have implemented drug-free workplace programs that involve testing under the DOT rules may need to revise their policies to reflect these regulatory changes. This includes the drugs for which individuals will be tested, and the cut-off levels for initial and confirmatory tests for specific drugs, if these issues are addressed in the employer's policy.

Employers seeking assistance with these issues may contact an attorney with our Firm for guidance.

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