You hear about our drug epidemic all the time. The U.S. had an estimated 64,000 deaths due to drug overdoses just in 2016. These are government statistics so you know the numbers are higher.
It’s crazy that as more and more people are popping these highly addictive drugs — sometimes before or while they drive –most commercial truck companies were not even being tested.
The Department of Transportation has long required testing of other drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, and the illegal opioid heroin, and of course alcohol.
Finally the DOT has caught up with the times. Semi-synthetic opioids were added to the mandatory panel starting January 1. Finally.
Employers at 18-wheeler companies must now test their drivers for four popular prescription medications: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone.
How many truckers take opioid drugs? Because testing was not required, there is no way to know. Often truck drivers were only tested after they crashed their tractor trailers and hurt others. But, 11.5 million people abused opioids in 2016 and as the DOT announcement noted “transportation industries are not immune to this trend and the safety issues it raises.” Continue reading