The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Publishes ‘Request for Information’

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Today in the Federal Register, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an operating division within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), published a notice request for information regarding the use of hair specimen for drug testing.  Specifically, SAMHSA's chartered Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB) will be the vehicle to provide recommendations to the SAMHSA Administrator for proposed changes to the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.  The CSAP DTAB process involves evaluating the scientific supportability of any considered change.  To assist the DTAB, SAMHSA is soliciting written comments and statements from the general public and industry stakeholders regarding a variety of issues related to hair specimen drug testing, including the hair specimen, its collection, specimen preparation, analytes, cutoffs, specimen validity, and initial and confirmatory testing.

Because the Department of Transportation (DOT) must follow the scientific guidelines of the HHS for DOT-regulated drug testing laboratory procedures, participants in the DOT transportation industry drug testing program should be aware of the important issues that HHS is considering regarding the scientific methodology and forensic defensibility of hair testing.  Any notice and subsequent final rule issued by the HHS regarding hair testing may affect the DOT testing program under 49 CFR Part 40, but only after the DOT conducts its own rulemaking.

We believe that employers, employees, and testing service providers involved in the DOT testing program should be aware of this HHS Federal Register document.  We recommend that DOT program participants review and provide information in response to this HHS Request for Information and, if they have views or concerns to express, provide comment to the HHS. 

We urge interested persons to read the HHS document carefully and to provide any information, relevant studies, and comments directly to the HHS. 

The Request for Information can be viewed at  

Comments and information may be submitted to the docket using this link!documentDetail;D=SAMHSA-2015-0003-0003.  The docket will be open for 30 days.