Substance Use Regulations and Drug-Free Workplace Mandates and Testing

SAMHSA supports standards that protect specific laws, mandates, and testing requirements on substance use that guide various SAMHSA-funded programs.

Review various substance use regulations, drug free workplace mandates, and testing requirements related to SAMHSA:

Synar Amendment

In July 1992, Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act (PL 102-321), which includes an amendment (section 1926) aimed at decreasing youth access to tobacco. This amendment, named for its sponsor, Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, requires states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enact and enforce laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18. States must comply with the Synar Amendment to receive their full Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) awards. Under the Act, SAMHSA is charged with working with states to assist them in complying with the Synar Amendment and has issued programmatic requirements and guidance to assist in their efforts.

The Tobacco Regulation for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grants: Final Rule – January 19, 1996 (PDF | 259 KB) requires states to have a law in place prohibiting manufacturers, retailers, or distributors of tobacco products from selling or distributing to minors before they can receive SAMHSA SABG funding.

Opioid Treatment Programs

The Certification of Opioid Treatment Programs (CFR Title 42: Part 8) regulation specifies the procedures for the accreditation and certification of opioid treatment programs to dispense opioid drugs. SAMHSA plays a role in the accreditation process by approving groups to make site visits and review the policies, procedures, and practices of an organization providing opioid treatment. This ensures that opioid treatment programs meet specific, nationally accepted standards. The accreditation process also enhances community confidence, provides a staff education tool, enhances medical staff recruitment, and often fulfills state licensure requirements.

Once an opioid treatment program is accredited by a SAMHSA-approved accrediting body, SAMHSA uses the accreditation results along with other data to determine whether the program is qualified to carry out treatment under the standards in Federal Regulation 42 CFR Part 8. A program may apply to SAMHSA for initial (provisional) certification during the time it is working toward accreditation. Programs applying for accreditation or certification must also comply with the applicable laws and regulations in their states.

Learn about the federal legislation, regulations, and guidelines that apply to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

The Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000

DATA was amended by the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006 at Section 1102. It allows qualified physicians to get a waiver from the separate registration requirements of the Narcotic Addict Treatment Act in order to treat opioid addiction with medications that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order to receive the waiver, physicians must meet certain qualifications such as possessing a current state medical license, board certifications in addiction treatment, or having undergone specialized training.

The SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) plays a role in helping physicians receive a waiver to practice opioid addiction therapy with FDA-approved medications. In order to receive a waiver, a physician must notify CSAT by submitting an Online Request for Patient Limit Increase before dispensing or prescribing an opioid therapy medication such as buprenorphine.

Federal Workplace Drug Testing

The Mandatory Drug Testing program is a nationwide prevention program consisting of two activities mandated by Executive Order 12564 and Public Law 100-71:

Federal Workplace Guidelines related to drug testing include:

Last Updated: 08/17/2016