What is an SAP Evaluation?
A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Evaluation is required for an employee who has violated a Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol program regulation. At the end of the evaluation, the SAP makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare. The evaluation is meant to determine the correct level of treatment in order for the employee to ultimately return to safety-sensitive duty.
Who is an SAP Evaluation for?
All Department of Transportation (DOT) regulated safety-sensitive employees employed in the aviation, railroad, public transit, trucking, maritime, and pipeline industries are subject to DOT regulations regarding the use of substances. If you have been given a substance abuse test and are subsequently told you are in violation of the DOT drug and alcohol testing rule due to a positive test result, then you require an SAP evaluation.
What is the DOT return-to-duty process?
If you have tested positive, your employer is required to immediately remove you from performing safety-sensitive functions. You will not be permitted to return to DOT regulated safety-sensitive functions until you have:
- Undergone an evaluation by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). Your employer must provide you with a list of SAPs that you can use;
- Successfully completed any course, counseling or treatment prescribed by the SAP prior to returning to service;
- Undergone a follow up evaluation by the same SAP to determine your compliance with their recommendations; AND
- Provided a breath and/or urine specimen that tests negative for drugs and/or alcohol prior to returning to DOT regulated safety-sensitive functions.
You will also be subject to unannounced “Follow-Up” testing for drugs and/or alcohol for at least 6 times during the first 12 months of active service with the possibility of unannounced testing for up to 60 months (as prescribed by the SAP). The Return-to-Duty and Follow-Up drug tests will be conducted under direct observation.
How long does the process of getting evaluated take?
Once you locate a SAP and schedule an appointment, the evaluation will take place in the SAP’s office in a 1-2 hour face-to-face meeting. After your face-to-face meeting, the SAP will need to contact key people such as your employer, treatment providers, etc. in order to complete the evaluation. You will sign releases in order for contact to take place, so that you are aware of whom the SAP is contacting. Your signature of the consent for release of information form indicates that the SAP is allowed to make such contact. Once all information has been gathered, the evaluation will be complete and a recommendation of the next step can be made.
What kind of treatments may be recommended by a SAP?
The SAP will recommend an appropriate level of care based on the results of the evaluation. Recommendations can include, but are not limited to education or outpatient group therapy.
What if I have more questions?
You will likely have more questions about the process. You can ask your employer for the answers to such questions, or your SAP during the process. Additionally, you can look up answers to questions on the following website:
If you require an SAP evaluation or are an employer seeking an SAP for an employee, look no further than South Bay Counseling LCSW PC for thorough, timely professional SAP evaluations and recommendations. Call us today at (631) 264-0058 or book an appointment online.