Got A DOT Drug Test Coming Up? Here’s What You Should Know

A drug screen is an important element of your DOT medical exam, and the urine collected at your examination is also tested for sugar and protein, which could indicate diabetes or kidney dysfunction. Failing a DOT drug screen is grounds to lose your DOT medical certification and can make you ineligible for hire, so it should be taken extremely seriously.

The five drugs being screened for during a DOT physical exam are:

Amphetamines. One of the five drugs being screened in the panel for a DOT medical exam is amphetamines. This includes prescription medications Ritalin, Vyvanse, or Adderall, most commonly prescribed for those with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This screen also detects the use of drugs like methamphetamine, crystal meth, in the urine. Drug abusers may test positive for amphetamines up to a week after their last use.

Opiates. When considering how long opiates will show up on a drug panel after the last use, there are many factors to take into account. With a wide range of opiates, from prescription pain-killers, to heroin and replacement therapy drugs, the metabolism time will vary; typically, opiates will show up in a urine drug screen for two to five days after the last use, though they can show up in a hair follicle test for 90 days after last use of the drug. Opiates are water-soluble, so hydrating can help speed up the process of metabolizing the drugs and getting them out of the system.

Marijuana. Even though marijuana is becoming decriminalized in many parts of the country, it is still not tolerated when testing for a DOT medical certificate. Marijuana can stay in the blood-stream for thirty days or more, depending on the body-mass of the individual and frequency of use. Infrequent smokers or those exposed to second-hand smoke may test clean for marijuana in a few days.

Cocaine. Cocaine metabolizes fairly quickly, and is detected in the urine for two to four days after the last use.

PCP (Phencyclidine). PCP is also commonly referred to as 'angel-dust' and it stores in the fat cells of the body. Depending on how frequently PCP is used, it can show up on a drug panel from one day to almost two weeks after the last use. PCP is impacted by body mass, so the time it takes to metabolize the drug varies from person to person.

Testing involves providing a urine sample in a controlled environment, such as the doctor's office, and awaiting lab results, typically a couple of days. You may find that you are ineligible to obtain a DOT medical certificate if you are on prescribed medications that are screened in the five-drug panel; this might include those individuals prescribed Adderall for ADHD, which is an amphetamine. Discuss any medications that you are currently prescribed with the DOT medical examiner and your own physician.