The Substance Abuse Evaluation
The evaluation occurs due to a positive alcohol or drug test result. This test can be required for a variety of reasons. The following are the most common reasons for the test; Pre-employment, Pre-access, random, reasonable suspicion or post accident. The tests are conducted at a certified lab and the results are reported to a medical review officer (MRO) who certifies the result. The MRO contacts the individual and informs him or her of his findings and provides an opportunity for the individual to provide a medical explanation for the finding.
The next stage in the process involves the selection of a substance abuse professional (SAP) who is qualified to perform the evaluation. The employees company usually has an individual who they assign to be the designated employee representative (DER). This individual receives the MRO’s report of a company violation of their alcohol and drug policy. The DER then informs the employee of the violation and recommends a SAP.
The initial meeting with the SAP will involve the administering of a standardized test, a psycho-social screening and a clinical interview. Based on the findings of the initial interview the SAP will make a recommendation for education, and/or counseling, out-patient intensive alcohol or drug treatment and inpatient substance abuse treatment.
The final stage of the substance abuse evaluation process is the follow-up session. At this meeting the SAP reviews the documentation verifying completion of recommendations. He confirms compliance and checks to see if the individual has progressed to the point that they can return to safety sensitive duty. It is the SAP’s responsibility to make sure that the individual does not pose a threat to the public. The last issue to be addressed is to stress the fact that there will be random follow-up drug testing to confirm the fact that the individual remains drug free.