HHS Publishes Hair Drug Testing Guidelines

September 10th the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published proposed mandatory guidelines for employers that adhere to federal workplace drug testing programs, such as for truck drivers, that include hair specimens. However, at least one other alternate specimen type (e.g. urine or oral fluid) that is authorized under the guidelines must also be collected and tested if a hair drug test is positive, if a donor is unable to provide a sufficient amount of hair for faith-based or medical reasons, or due to an insufficient amount or length of hair.

The new proposed guidelines have elicited a mixed response from transportation stakeholders, such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA), who has expressed disappointment at the weakness of HHS’ proposal as it may call into question hair testing results and disincentivize such practices. Others, such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), have expressed concerns over hair testing’s efficacy, accuracy, and associated costs.

HHS is accepting comments on the proposed guidelines until on or before November 9, 2020.

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