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The DOT agencies (the Federal Aviation Administration [aviation], the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [trucking], the Federal Railroad Administration [rail], the Federal Transit Administration [mass transit] and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [pipeline]) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) [maritime] each have industry specific regulations which in total cover approximately 12.1 million transportation employees who perform safety-sensitive functions. These regulations spell out who is subject to testing, when and in what circumstances. These regulations can be found on our web site.

The DOT also has procedures which apply to all transportation employee Federal testing which can be found in another regulation, referred to here as " Part 40." Each of the DOT agencies and the USCG follow Part 40 by including its procedures in their regulations. Part 40 states: what specimens are collected; who performs the drug and alcohol tests; how to conduct those tests; what procedures to use when testing, and the mandatory return to duty requirements of an employee returning to safety-sensitive service following a DOT drug and/or alcohol rule violation.

As an employer, you must provide employees with a list of SAPs qualified under §40.281. The regulation [§40.287] requires the employer to provide the employee with a list of qualified SAPs. Your failure to provide such a list could result in sanctions issued by the DOT Modal Administration with jurisdiction over you.

As an employee, ask your employer for a list of SAPs in your area (even if the employer fired you or did not hire you). A SAP qualified to act in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program must meet the SAP qualification requirements in §40.281.

All employment decisions belong solely to the employer. DOT regulations do not address employment actions such as hiring, firing or leaves of absence. DOT and USCG regulation may prohibit you from performing your safety-sensitive functions after a positive test result or refusal to submit to testing. You should be aware that a positive, adulterated or substituted DOT drug or alcohol test may trigger consequences based on company policy or employment agreement.

Most every community in the country has resources available to confidentially assist you through the evaluation and treatment of your problem. If you would like to find a treatment facility close to you, check with your local yellow pages, local health department or visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services treatment facility locator. This site provides contact information for substance abuse treatment programs by state, city and U.S. Territory.

Also, many work-place programs are in place to assist employees and family members with substance abuse, mental health and other problems that affect their job performance. While these may vary by industry, here is an overview of programs that may be available to you:

While not required by DOT agency regulations, EAPs may be available to you as a matter of company policy. EAPs are generally provided by employers or unions. EAP programs vary considerably in design and scope. Some focus only on substance abuse problems, while others take a broad brush approach and include your health and family problems. Some programs include prevention, and health and wellness activities. Some are linked to your health benefits. With limited exceptions, these programs offer full privacy and confidentiality.

Often sponsored by employers or unions, referral programs provide an opportunity to self-report to your employer a substance abuse problem before you violate DOT and/or company rules. This gives you an opportunity for evaluation and treatment and may allow you to keep your job. Check with your employer to see if it offers a voluntary referral program.

These programs which are generally sponsored by employers or unions, encourage you to identify co-workers with substance abuse problems because the safety of everyone depends on it. Using peers to convince troubled friends and co-workers who have a problem to seek help often guarantees the co-worker struggling with substance abuse issues the same benefits as if he had self-reported.