Drug and Alcohol Services FAQ

Accurate Safety Compliance

Drug and Alcohol Services FAQ

How does Reasonable Suspicion work?

Supervisors must be trained to recognize Substance Abuse in the workplace by using physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators. It is highly recommended that all management positions receive Training on Alcohol and Controlled Substance Abuse.

What Drugs should we test for?

The drugs for which tests are required under DOT Guidelines are:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Phencyclidine (PCP) and
  • Opiates

For non-DOT companies you may test for these and any other drugs you deem necessary.

What is an Adulterated Specimen?

A Specimen (urine sample) that contains a Substance that is not expected to be present in Human Urine, or contains a Substance expected to be present but is at concentration so high that it is not consistent with Human Urine.

What is a (MRO) Medical Review Officer?

A person who is a Licensed Physician and who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer's Drug Testing Program and evaluating medical explanations for certain Drug results.

What is an (EAP) Employee Assistance Program?

An Employee Assistance Program is an employer sponsored service that provides professional, short-term assistance and counseling in an attempt to help employees help themselves in solving personal and workplace problems. Many organizations have established EAPs as a no-cost employee benefit.

What is a Chain of Custody?

DOT Guidelines mandate the use of the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF).  The CCF outlines the procedure used to document the handling of a Urine Specimen from the time the Employee gives the Specimen to the Collector, until the Specimen is disposed. 

The Federal CCF (also referred to as CoC – Chain of Custody) is accomplished in quintuplicate, with a copy for each of the concerned entities who gain custody of the sample along its trail in the process, as follows:

Copy 1 – Test Facility
Copy 2 – Medical Review Officer
Copy 3 – Collector
Copy 4 – Employer
Copy 5 – Donor

Each of these 5 entities have specific sections on the CCF which they should fill out. The information they provide on the CCF must be complete, clear and concise.

Any missing or erroneous information may result in unnecessary delays in the process and in some cases, may cause the entire test request to be discarded. For instance if the Specimen ID# written on the top portion of the CCF does not match the specimen ID# on the specimen bottle, the test facility (laboratory) will report a Rejected for Testing result. This particular task falls on the collector, as well as various other sections on each of the 5 copies of the CCF.

The standardized format of the CCF is the result of the collaboration between government and drug testing industry representatives (DATIA / SAPAA) who form a governing oversight group. As the test sample moves along the process, pertinent information is added to the CCF, providing effective tracking and cross-checking points that help ensure the integrity of the sample and pinpoint accountability.

The CCF is a legal document. Any tampering or mishandling of the CCF and all information therein warrants an investigation and subsequent application of penalties in accordance with the law. It is likewise private and confidential.

All these process safeguards serve to assure donors that the specimen they provide will be handled strictly according to the order outlined by the SAMHSA in their mandatory guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.

2014 DOT Random Testing Rates- The following chart outlines the annual minimum drug and alcohol random testing rates established within DOT Agencies and the USCG for 2014.

DOT Agency
Drug Testing 
 Alcohol Testing
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration



Federal Aviation Administration



Federal Railroad Administration



Federal Transit Administration



Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration



United States Coast Guard
(now with the Dept. of Homeland Security)



Can an employer conduct pre-employment alcohol testing?

A DOT-regulated employer (except under USCG & RSPA rules) wishing to conduct pre-employment alcohol testing under DOT authority may do so if the testing is conducted for all employees (cannot select some applicants and not others) and must be conducted as a post-offer requirement (the employer needs to inform the applicant that he or she has the job if he or she passes a DOT alcohol test).

How do DOT drug and alcohol tests relate to non-DOT tests?

DOT tests must be completely separate from non-DOT tests.  DOT tests must take priority and must be conducted and completed before a non-DOT test is started. No one is permitted to change or disregard the results of DOT tests based on the results of non-DOT tests. As an employer, you must not use the Custody and Control Form (CCF) or the Alcohol Testing Form (ATF) in your non-DOT drug and alcohol testing programs.

Are Instant Drug Screens as accurate as laboratory testing?

Instant drug screens/tests are accurate up to >99%. These tests also allow a certified collector to inspect the specimen for adulteration, temperature, and test results for up to twelve drug panels. If a certified collector suspects any signs of tampering, or the test results are non-negative, the specimen is sent to a laboratory for verification.  DOT-regulated employers are not allowed to utilize Instant Drug Screens and must use a split specimen urine collection.

What is a split specimen urine sample?

A part of the urine specimen that is sent to a first laboratory and retained unopened, and which is transported to a second laboratory in the event that the employee requests that it be tested following a verified positive test of the primary specimen or a verified adulterated or substituted test result.

Who can collect urine specimens for DOT drug testing?

In order to act as a collector for DOT drug testing, you must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Have knowledge of the current "DOT Urine Specimen Collections Procedure Guidelines," and DOT agency regulations applicable to the employers for whom you perform collections
  • You must receive qualification training meeting the following subjects:
    • All steps necessary to complete a collection correctly and the proper completion and transmission of the Custody and Control Form
    • Knowledge of how to handle problem collections (shy bladder, test refusals)
    • Perform proficiency demonstrations.

Can we conduct our own specimen collections?

Yes, but you must be trained.  We can train your designated employer representative to conduct specimen collections of your employee, but the immediate supervisor of an employee may not act as the collector, unless no other collector is available.

Where can a urine collection for a DOT drug test take place?

A urine collection for a DOT drug test can take place in our collection facility, your place of business, a medical facility or mobile facility.  All of these facilities must meet these requirements:

  • Enclosed single-toilet room
  • Full-length privacy door
  • A source of water (external if practicable) for washing hands (if external source of water is not available, you may meet this requirement by securing all sources of water and other substances that could be used for adulteration or substitution).
What must collectors do with collection sites in order to ensure the integrity and security of urine samples?
  • A bluing agent must be placed in all toilets used for specimen collection
  • Ensure that no soap, disinfectants, cleaning agents, or other possible adulterants are present
  • Inspect the collection site to ensure no other foreign or unauthorized substances are present.
  • Tape or secure any movable toilet tank top
  • Secure areas and items (trash receptacles, paper towel holders, under sink area, ledges, etc.) that appear suitable for concealing contaminants.

Can I take controlled substances with a letter of permission from my physician?

Yes, if the use of a controlled substance is pursuant to the instructions of a licensed medical practitioner who has advised you that the substance will not adversely affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle or perform safety-sensitive duties. An employer may require a driver to inform the employer of any therapeutic drug use.

What is a confirmation (or confirmatory) drug test?

A second analytical procedure performed on a urine specimen to identify and quantify the presence of a specific drug or drug metabolite.

Office for Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) - This link answeres some of the questions the OODAPC has received which did not require an interpretation but rather a general response.

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