Transportation department expands opioid testing to include semisynthetics

The U.S. Department of Transportation has expanded its current drug testing panel to include certain semisynthetic opioids in testing for industries regulated by the department.
The final rule will expand the panel to include testing for drugs such as hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone in an effort to enhance safety, prevent opioid abuse and combat the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, the department said in a statement on Monday. The department currently requires drug testing of safety-sensitive employees in the transportation industries.
“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,” Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in the statement. “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.”
Employers regulated by the department will be required to test for these highly-abused opioids beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, according to the statement.

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