Rules Proposed for Workplace Drug Testing
SAMHSA has proposed a new rule that would allow Federal agencies
to use sweat, saliva, and hair in Federal drug testing programs
that now test only urine. The proposal would also allow selected
specimen testing at the time and place it is collected.
The proposal is based on scientific advances that will allow use
of hair, saliva, and sweat specimens to be used with the same level
of confidence applied to urine specimens.
The proposed rule spells out when these alternative specimens
and testing devices may be used, the procedures that must be used
in collecting samples, and the certification process for approving
a laboratory to test these alternative specimens.
"These proposed rules will largely affect Federal employees
and job applicants in safety and security-related positions,"
explained SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W.
About 400,000 Federal workers in testing-designated positions—those
who have security clearances, are presidential appointees, carry
firearms, or deal with public safety or national security—are
drug tested when they apply for jobs.
Under the proposed rule, Federal agencies will choose whether
to use the new tests. There is no requirement to test hair, saliva,
or sweat. Agencies will consider their own needs and whether employees
may consider these tests less intrusive
and less invasive of privacy than collecting urine specimens.
The proposed rule would implement procedures to ensure that all
Federal agencies divide each collected specimen—whether hair,
oral fluid, sweat, or urine—into two parts: one-half for immediate
testing, and one-half to be held in reserve. This added safeguard
benefits both the person tested and the agency, by providing a system
that would permit the person tested to request an immediate double-check
if a specimen comes back from the laboratory as positive for drugs.
SAMHSA also has issued a new rule to establish standards for certification
of laboratories engaged in urine testing for Federal agencies.
These new standards ensure that validity testing and reporting
procedures are uniformly applied to all Federal agency urine specimens.
This specific revision has been added in response to increased availability
in the marketplace of products used to try to beat drug tests by
adulterating urine specimens.
Although this is a final rule, comments are requested on one element
of this revision—creatinine levels, which are used to help
establish whether a urine specimen has been adulterated. Comments
are requested because the information on which this change is based
came in after the close of the comment period on the proposal.
For more information, visit SAMHSA's
Web site at www.samhsa.gov/hottopics/click_drugtesting.html.
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