WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that starting in January, drug testing for transportation workers – including bus drivers — would include four semi-synthetic opioids.
Drug testing will now include oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone, which go by brand names such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet and Dilaudid. (See related article on Page 10.)
The new tests will affect workers regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and U.S. Coast Guard.
More than 33,000 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“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,” Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a bulletin last month.
“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.”