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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hair Testing Guidlines Included In Opiod Bill Passed By Senate


The U.S. Senate on Monday passed comprehensive legislation aimed at combating the nation’s opioid crisis. The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 was overwhelmingly passed through the Senate on a 99-1 vote, a few months after the House of Representatives passed its own opioid bill in June.

The bill is supported by the American Trucking Associations and includes provisions on hair testing. The ATA has long advocated for hair testing and worked closely with Senate Commerce Committee staff to secure it in the legislation.

The bill would direct the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to report to Congress on its progress issuing guidelines for hair testing. Upon enactment, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required within 30 days to report to the Commerce Committee on the status for hair testing guidelines, the reasons for a delay in issuing guidelines, and a schedule – complete with benchmarks and an estimated date of delivery – for completion of the guidelines.

The bill also contains reporting requirements on the development of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and a deadline for completing work on oral fluids testing.

“We thank Senator Thune and his staff for their continued persistence and commitment on this issue of hair testing,” said Bill Sullivan, ATA’s executive vice president of advocacy. “Our fleets need to depend on – and need the government to recognize – the most accurate, reliable and failsafe drug testing methods available. The time has come to get this done.”

Federal law requires trucking companies to drug test new drivers and randomly test existing drivers. Currently, SAMHSA only recognizes the test method of urinalysis. ATA states hair testing is more advantageous, providing employers with a longer detection window, easier collection and results that are harder to adulterate. The FAST Act required HHS to issue scientific and technical guidelines for hair testing by December 4, 2016 – a deadline which was missed.

The Senate must now reconcile the bill it passed yesterday with the companion bill in the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law by the President.

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