Federal Guidelines for Workplace Drug Testing Add Opioids

As of Oct. 1, new federal mandatory guidelines for workplace drug testing expanded to include the authority to test for four semi-synthetic opioids: oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone. These are prescription opioid pain medications (also known as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Dilaudid) that are commonly misused without medical authority. The revised mandatory guidelines pertain to urine-based testing for all federal employees in a testing designated position.

“We felt it necessary to make these revisions because of advances in science and technology and because of the increased misuse of prescription opioids,” said Elinore McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in a statement. SAMHSA administers the testing program and provides oversight for the National Laboratory Certification Program, which certifies laboratories to conduct forensic drug testing for federal agencies and federally regulated industries.


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