Often truck drivers can find themselves in trouble when it comes to the required DOT medical drug screen. A legal, prescribed drug from your family physician can lead to termination from the trucking company if you fail to follow the correct procedure. Many times in the trucking industry, problems that arise that can cause a driver to lose his or her job could have been avoided.
The DOT drug screen looks for the use of a Schedule 1 drugs : amphetamine, narcotic or any other habit forming drug that is not legally permitted. They also check for the usage of illegal narcotic drugs including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP). Very often, drivers who have received a legal prescription from their doctor fail to understand that this information should be provided to the motor carrier, especially when facing a DOT physical or drug screening. Most importantly, the information must be provided to the medical examiner before the screening takes place.
As an example, often truck drivers can be given a legal prescription for Lortab which is a combination of a narcotic painkiller and cough reliever with a non-narcotic painkiller for the relief of moderate to moderately severe pain. Since it contains hydrocodone, the hydrocodone is a narcotic, which is one of the things they look for from a DOT drug test. Therefore, if the driver fails to tell the company or medical examiner about the Lortab, the drug test will come back as a flagged and failed screening.
Most truckers understand that this type of prescription, though legal, contains a narcotic. By telling the trucking company that they are on this drug or others like it, they face the possibility of their employer telling them to take the two or three weeks off until they are better . . . or however long their doctor has prescribed the medication. This simply is not worth the chance of losing your job. If you are called to take a random drug test . . . you will now find yourself in a tough situation.
I am hearing more from drivers who have found themselves in this position. Don’t take the chance. Random drug tests could become more random in the future. If you have to be on a prescribed narcotic . . . tell your company immediately. It’s better to follow company policy and be told to take the required time off, than it is to be terminated for not following the correct procedure.