DOT has set standard cut-off levels for drug tests, which are crucial in identifying employees who may be using drugs that could compromise safety. Failing to comply with these cut-off levels can lead to serious consequences, which is why it's essential for both employers and employees to be knowledgeable about the DOT's specific cut-off levels for drugs. Let's take a closer look at these drug testing cut-off levels and their importance in ensuring safety in the transportation industry.
The initial cutoff drug level refers to the minimum concentration of a drug or its metabolites that a drug screening test can detect in a biological sample, such as urine or blood.
The confirmatory cutoff drug level refers to the minimum concentration of a drug or its metabolites that a confirmatory test, usually a more sensitive and specific test than the initial screening test.
A result below the cutoff concentration on an initial drug screening must be reported as negative. You must conduct a confirmation test if the result is at or over the cutoff concentration.
An outcome below the cutoff concentration on a confirmation drug test must be reported as negative, and an outcome at or over the cutoff value must be reported as confirmed positive.
Federally-regulated sectors commonly utilize a 5-panel drug test protocol that involves testing urine specimens for five commonly abused drugs and two of their metabolites, adding up to a total of seven substances screened. To ensure standardization and accuracy, it is recommended that federally-regulated departments adhere to the established drug cutoff levels by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
|Drug||Initial Cut-Off Level||Confirmatory Cut-Off Level|
|Marijuana (THC)||50 ng/mL||15 ng/mL|
|Cocaine||150 ng/mL||100 ng/mL|
|Opiates (Morphine, Codeine)||2000 ng/mL||2000 ng/mL|
|Amphetamines||500 ng/mL||250 ng/mL|
|Methamphetamine||500 ng/mL||250 ng/mL|
|Benzodiazepines||300 ng/mL||200 ng/mL|
|Phencyclidine (PCP)||25 ng/mL||25 ng/mL|
It's important to note that the DOT's drug testing regulations include alcohol testing, which is conducted separately from drug testing mostly through breath alcohol test. The initial test cutoff level for alcohol is 0.02%, and the confirmatory test cutoff level is 0.04%.
So whether you're a job seeker, a current employee, or an employer, knowledge of the standard cut-off levels of drug tests is an essential aspect of maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. By staying informed and adhering to the established cutoff levels, you can ensure accurate and reliable drug test results, promote public safety, and make your workplace a better place for all. So stay vigilant, stay informed, and stay safe!
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