United Airlines AFA MEC Website

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Department of Transportation Changes to DOT Testing Rule

Date: December 5, 2017
Type: AFA Article

Department of Transportation Changes to DOT Testing Rule   

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is making changes to the DOT Testing rule which will take effect January 1, 2018.  Below is a summary of some important changes and how they will affect you.

Four semi-synthetic opioids have been added for DOT testing- hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone.

What does this mean for Flight Attendants? Prescription pain medications which were previously undetectable under DOT testing will now be detectable starting January 1, 2018.   Some common names for these semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, Exalgo®.  

Why Should I Be Concerned? You need to make sure you have a valid prescription for the pain killer so your test is verified as negative. Using another person’s medication or using a medication that was prescribed to you for another or past condition could result in a test positive.  A Medical Review Officer (MRO) who is tasked with verifying if you have a valid prescription) may want to talk to the prescriber or the pharmacist.  Make sure you have those numbers when traveling in case you get a call from the MRO.

Even if you have a valid prescription and your test is reported as “negative” to the company, the MRO maybe concerned about your ability to perform your safety sensitive duties. 

What does this mean for Flight Attendants? It means that an MRO might tell you that you have 5 business days to have your prescriber contact the MRO to discuss the safety concern. If this discussion does not happen within the 5 business days or is not productive in resolving the safety issue, the MRO may then call the company and say that a safety concern exists. 

Why Should I Be Concerned? Make sure that your prescriber is fully aware of your safety sensitive duties and still clears you to use that medication while flying before you accept taking that medication as your medical treatment plan.

Where Can I Get More Information?  If you’d like to learn more about flying and the safe use of medications, visit www.FADAP.orgunder the resource section.   You can also contact your local AFA EAP committee.  You can find your local EAP committee representative by calling the International AFA EAP Department at 800-424-2406 or by visiting http://www.afacwa.org/your_local_eap_rep.

In addition, please refer to the full article on the DOT Testing Changes available from the Employee Assistance/Professional Standards Page on unitedafa.org. We appreciate the work of our Employee Assistance Chairperson & Vice Chairperson, Jennifer Grega and Ernie Cornejo, respectively.

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