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New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Fri May 03, 2019 9:30 pm
by ParkFSI
Hello fellow aviators,
Although I’ve looked at this form from time to time I finally registered today because something is really bothering me.
I flew for a paycheck for 20 years then lost the medical 15 years ago and have been a sim and ground school instructor since.
The reason I have made this posting is the new DOT/FAA drug and alcohol testing requirements have gone over the top.
Now it will include over- the -counter and prescribed medications.
The company I work for could potentially loose 1/3 of their instructors and I think the numbers may be the same for commercial and private pilots.
To be honest the only way a simulator instructor can harm anyone is if we shove someone off the cat walk.
I welcome your comments,

Ken Parrish

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 2:29 am
by floridaflyboy
Hey there. Would you mind posting the new requirements or a link to them? It would be hard to weigh in without reading what the changes are and I would be interested in checking it out.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 2:42 am
by enilria
If they banned anti-depressants it will eliminate like 40% of the American population! (Only half kidding)

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 2:51 am
by zeke
ParkFSI wrote:
Hello fellow aviators,
Although I’ve looked at this form from time to time I finally registered today because something is really bothering me.
I flew for a paycheck for 20 years then lost the medical 15 years ago and have been a sim and ground school instructor since.
The reason I have made this posting is the new DOT/FAA drug and alcohol testing requirements have gone over the top.
Now it will include over- the -counter and prescribed medications.
The company I work for could potentially loose 1/3 of their instructors and I think the numbers may be the same for commercial and private pilots.
To be honest the only way a simulator instructor can harm anyone is if we shove someone off the cat walk.
I welcome your comments,

Ken Parrish


Many over the counter medications have never been legal, these are generally have Codeine as an active ingredient used to treat pain, as a cough medicine, and for diarrhoea.

Codeine is a psychoactive drug, which results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behaviour. This is a substance no one in a safety critical role should be taking, including simulator instructors who are responsible for training and testing pilots.

If someone in a safety critical role does need to take it, doctors recommended a period of three times the half life of the drug after the last dose for the substance not to result in brain altering behaviour.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 3:12 am
by MO11
floridaflyboy wrote:
Hey there. Would you mind posting the new requirements or a link to them? It would be hard to weigh in without reading what the changes are and I would be interested in checking it out.


It went into effect January 1, 2018:

https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/Part_40_Final_Rule_Summary_of_Changes

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 3:43 am
by mwmav8r01
I see that its Vicodin etc. What over the counter is tested for?

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 4:31 am
by Yossarian22
If you are under the effects of these drugs, you shouldn’t be in a cockpit. It is hard to be more liberal about drugs than I am, but I want my pilots 100% sober.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 8:04 am
by lightsaber
It looks like opiods added to the testing. If a pilot needs those, they shouldn't fly. I shouldn't design aircraft, test aircraft, or make safety decisions under those medications either. There are times to take sick leave.

Lightsaber

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 1:51 pm
by santi319
mwmav8r01 wrote:
I see that its Vicodin etc. What over the counter is tested for?

There isn’t any “over the counter” stuff that potentially can come out positive. I don’t know where the thread starter got his/her information from.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 1:57 pm
by N809FR
santi319 wrote:
mwmav8r01 wrote:
I see that its Vicodin etc. What over the counter is tested for?

There isn’t any “over the counter” stuff that potentially can come out positive. I don’t know where the thread starter got his/her information from.


Except marijuana, which is as easy to buy in a lot of US states as a beer.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 3:35 pm
by ParkFSI
I completely understand and agree about the above mentioned drugs. What i am concerned about is they’re going to be requiring us to report drugs that state “may cause drowsiness “ or “dizziness “ are going to be addressed.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 4:31 pm
by 32andBelow
N809FR wrote:
santi319 wrote:
mwmav8r01 wrote:
I see that its Vicodin etc. What over the counter is tested for?

There isn’t any “over the counter” stuff that potentially can come out positive. I don’t know where the thread starter got his/her information from.


Except marijuana, which is as easy to buy in a lot of US states as a beer.

Which should be allowed. It’s ridiculous I can drink a bunch of vodka 8 hours before my shift. Weed tho. Too dangerous.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 6:37 pm
by santi319
32andBelow wrote:
N809FR wrote:
santi319 wrote:
There isn’t any “over the counter” stuff that potentially can come out positive. I don’t know where the thread starter got his/her information from.


Except marijuana, which is as easy to buy in a lot of US states as a beer.

Which should be allowed. It’s ridiculous I can drink a bunch of vodka 8 hours before my shift. Weed tho. Too dangerous.

Agreed but unless they take blood samples, how will they know how high you are?

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Sun May 05, 2019 1:36 pm
by ParkFSI
I guess I’m over thinking but this is what I was concerned about:

“The use of any substance which carries a warning label indicating that mental functions, motor skills, or
judgement may be adversely affected, should be discussed by employees with their appropriate healthcare
professional before performing safety sensitive duties. Educational information regarding prescription and
over-the-counter medications should be obtained from either a healthcare professional or pharmacist.
Employees are strongly urged to seek and obtain medical advice prior to using prescription or over-the-
counter drugs that may adversely affect his/her ability to safely perform safety sensitive duties. It is drug
abuse or misuse to perform tasks that are contraindicated, meaning the medication label warns against
these tasks while using the medication.
IMPORTANT! Using a prescription medication that is expired or is not prescribed to the covered employee is considered drug abuse, and may be verified by the MRO as a positive drug test result, thus
resulting in termination of employment.”

As we can see the usual five or six drugs that we have been tested for can now has the potential to be a unlimited number, this could be a slippery slope.....

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:45 pm
by Rosie7
So... Can a pilot or flight attendant be assured that if tested and found positive for a drug on the list AND has a current prescription for that medication ; can they be assured that they are compliant with this DOT/FAA rule ? In particular, if these crew members have been taking that particular prescribed medication for a lengthy period of time that they are within the parameters of this rule?

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 7:41 pm
by DocLightning
The big OTC one that I know of is cetirizine (ZYRTEC) and presumably levocetirizine (XYZAL). Pilots may use loratadine (CLARITIN), desloratadine (CLARINEX) or fexofenadine (ALLEGRA) but not cetirizine. Pilots may also use nasal steroids (FLONASE/NASACORT/RHINOCORT/others) and these are actually first-line. Obviously, no pilot should be in the cockpit if they have taken any kind of opiate.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:28 pm
by fr8mech
Rosie7 wrote:
So... Can a pilot or flight attendant be assured that if tested and found positive for a drug on the list AND has a current prescription for that medication ; can they be assured that they are compliant with this DOT/FAA rule ? In particular, if these crew members have been taking that particular prescribed medication for a lengthy period of time that they are within the parameters of this rule?


The training we received says that you may not work if you are currently taking any medication on the list, even if you have a prescription.

By the way, this should include all safety sensitive personnel, including mechanics, dispatchers and selected others.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:22 am
by zeke
Rosie7 wrote:
So... Can a pilot or flight attendant be assured that if tested and found positive for a drug on the list AND has a current prescription for that medication ; can they be assured that they are compliant with this DOT/FAA rule ? In particular, if these crew members have been taking that particular prescribed medication for a lengthy period of time that they are within the parameters of this rule?


Our drug testing is by way of hair sample so the drugs maybe present well after you have stopped taking medication. You can this have a positive result weeks or months after stopping. A positive result will need a prescription.

We are supposed to have stopped taking medication for a period of 1.5 half lives (the rate they are broken down).

Should not be under the influence of any medication whilst at work, that means stopped taking them and waiting enough time for them to leave your body.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:18 pm
by DocLightning
zeke wrote:
We are supposed to have stopped taking medication for a period of 1.5 half lives (the rate they are broken down).


Really? That's all? I usually consider four or five half-lives to be the limit at which a drug can be considered to have "washed out" of the patient's system. At one half-life, serum levels are 50% of normal. At two, 25%, at three 12.5%, at four 6.25% and at 5, 3.125%. It depends on the individual drug, but some can still have some pretty significant physiologic effects even at 10% of peak serum levels.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:18 pm
by zeke
DocLightning wrote:
zeke wrote:
We are supposed to have stopped taking medication for a period of 1.5 half lives (the rate they are broken down).


Really? That's all? I usually consider four or five half-lives to be the limit at which a drug can be considered to have "washed out" of the patient's system. At one half-life, serum levels are 50% of normal. At two, 25%, at three 12.5%, at four 6.25% and at 5, 3.125%. It depends on the individual drug, but some can still have some pretty significant physiologic effects even at 10% of peak serum levels.


You are correct, what I typed was wrong. I looked up our guidance again it is 5 half lives. For something I have used in the past I had to wait 30 hours, which I used 1.5 days.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:25 pm
by fr8mech
32andBelow wrote:
Which should be allowed. It’s ridiculous I can drink a bunch of vodka 8 hours before my shift. Weed tho. Too dangerous.


Yes and no. Yes, you can drink a bunch of ***insert your favorite adult beverage here*** 8 or 4 hours prior to reporting, depending on function, but you need to be under .04 when you report to duty. 14CFR120.37(b)

My employer says .02 is the limit.

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:58 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
Yes and no, weed isn’t easily tested for and stays in the body for much longer than marijuana, hence the problem for enforcement. It’s also illegal under Federal law which governs US aviation.

The UK AAIB questioned pilots using OTC cold remedies 17 years ago in a CL-604 accident in Birmingham, UK. Deceased pilots’ blood work up showed benedryl.

GF

Re: New DOT/FAA Drug and Alcohol testing requirements

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:10 am
by DocLightning
fr8mech wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
Which should be allowed. It’s ridiculous I can drink a bunch of vodka 8 hours before my shift. Weed tho. Too dangerous.


Yes and no. Yes, you can drink a bunch of ***insert your favorite adult beverage here*** 8 or 4 hours prior to reporting, depending on function, but you need to be under .04 when you report to duty. 14CFR120.37(b)

My employer says .02 is the limit.


It's a lot easier to measure BAC and that measurement correlates well with impairment. It is not so simple to measure THC (it's not a volatile small molecule, for one thing) and blood levels don't match impairment as well. Moreover, most screening tests look for THC metabolites, and it's difficult to ascertain the difference between those metabolites and THC itself without such techniques as chromatography (ion, column) or spectroscopy.