The Differences Between DOT and Non-DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing

The Differences Between DOT and Non-DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing

HR Solutions

In the US, it’s fairly standard to be offered employment in many fields (corporate, state, transportation, and the like) only to find out that the offer is conditional upon passing a drug and alcohol test. Most places will also periodically drug and alcohol test their personnel, just to make sure that they aren’t using and that work is being done in a safe manner. This brings us to the two main types of drug testing that you might happen upon in your time searching for a job: DOT and non-DOT drug and alcohol testing.

DOT Testing is for those who will be working with the Department of Transportation during their job. This is for people who work in the transportation field, be it truck drivers, pilots, or captains on boats. Some parts of the Coast Guard even use DOT Testing in their programs. DOT Testing doesn’t fall under state guidelines, but instead falls under federal guidelines for drug testing. This means they’re far more stringent in what they do test for, but they don’t necessarily test for a wider range of illegal substances. DOT tests tend to test for five major drug groups (cocaine, marijuana, opiates, PCP, amphetamines/methamphetamines). The alcohol test is conducted on a breathalyzer machine by someone who has been trained and is certified to do so.

If you’re offered employment and need a DOT drug and alcohol test, expect to wait a few days to get results. A chain of custody form is filled out after you give your sample and it’s been verified by the collector that it has not been adulterated in any way (in other words, don’t try to pass another person’s urine as your own, since it can also be illegal depending on the state you’re in at the time). The sample and form are then sealed in a bag to be sent off to the laboratory to be tested, where the sample is split into two. The purpose of this is so that if the first sample tests positive, they can verify it with the second sample, and make sure it isn’t a false positive. Usually, the second sample is sent through a gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). Those results are then sent to a Medical Review Officer, who reviews the findings. If they find no detectable results, or nothing to suggest abuse of certain medications, then they will inform the company and you can go forward with the hiring process.

Non-DOT testing is a little more laid back, since these tests are for jobs that aren’t considered ‘safety-sensitive’, but they test for more substances within your system. The alcohol portion is pretty much the same as DOT testing, but the drug test portion is a little different, because a non-DOT drug test can test for up to 10 drugs (cannaboids, cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamines, opiates, PCP, methadone, barbituates, benzodiazepines, MDMA, flaka, steroids, nicotin, and tricyclic antidepressants). Please note that the employer can pick which substances they would like you to be tested for. These results are often available same day, making the process much faster.

Both tests are fairly common, but please remember, if you’re on medication that may cause you to fail a drug test, let the collector and your potential employer know. As long as you aren’t abusing the medication, the worst thing will be the potential for a little extra wait before you finally land the job.

If you’re needing drug testing in Austin, contact The Sedona Group of Austin today to discuss your needs.

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