DOT COVID-19 Drug & Alcohol Testing Statement of Enforcement Discretion for Substance Abuse Professionals and Service Agents
The DOT website notes that on March 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) provided guidance about the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents. On April 4, 2020, ODAPC provided supplemental information specific to performing remote evaluations by Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP). As published on April 4, 2020, this statement was effective through June 30, 2020. On June 17, 2020 the guidance was extended to September 30, 2020. As of September 22, 2020, ODAPC has extended the statement and it continues to be effective through December 31, 2020.
The ruling makes remote/telehealth services optional when a SAP has determined that it is not feasible to conduct evaluations face to face and follow CDC and local guidelines. Some SAPs have small office space and six feet distancing may not be possible. Telehealth is not required as substance use disorder services are considered to be an essential service.
The ODPAC notes that the technology used must meet specific parameters.
- The technology you use should permit a real-time two-way audio and visual communication and interaction between you and the employee.
- You should determine if the quality of the technology (e.g., speed of the internet connection, clarity of the display, application being used, etc.) is sufficient for you to gather all the visual (e.g., non-verbal physical cues) and audible information you would normally observe in an in-person face-to-face interaction.
- You may only utilize the technology if your State-issued license authorizes you to do so and within the parameters of that authority.
The DOT has compiled their guidelines in a downloadable PDF for your reference. Click the link below to get the document.