At CMS, we have the discussion about DOT drug tests, and whether or not they look for painkillers, on a regular basis. Here is a quick overview:

Do DOT Drug Tests look for painkillers?

No.

Why not?

Because the wheels of government move slowly.

But I thought DOT tested for opiates?

Yes.  DOT tests for drugs that are natural opiates such as morphine, codeine, and heroin.  However, painkillers like LorTab, Vicodin, and OxyContin are synthetic or partly synthetic opiates, also known as opioids.  They are not tested for in the standard DOT Panel.

Should the DOT test include painkillers?  I’ve heard that they are highly abused.

The current DOT Proposed Rulemaking (Jan 23, 2017) includes adding four semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone.  Hopefully this testing will be approved, but it will likely be years before the panel is updated.

Take a look the proposed rule: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDOT/2017/01/23/file_attachments/748866/FR_20170123_NPRM_Opioids.pdf

I think I should test for painkillers.  What can I do?

DOT does not restrict your right to additional testing, and many companies include further testing in addition to the DOT minimum.  Hair and saliva testing are increasingly popular in order to deter potentially hazardous drivers. CMS can help tailor a program to meet your needs and ensure you have the safest driving force possible.