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Changes to Drug Testing Thresholds

27-Sep-10

If your company has an alcohol and drug testing policy, you need to be aware of changes which are being implemented to drug testing standards specified by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) (and followed by Canadian testing laboratories) effective October 1, 2010.

The changes will establish lower cut-off levels for amphetamines and cocaine. Any testing which is performed by a recognized laboratory will be affected by these changes, and the Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace ("the Canadian Model") is being changed to be consistent with these changes.

The Canadian Model sets industry norms for alcohol and drug testing. The Canadian Model Review Committee has reviewed the testing revisions and will be amending the Canadian Model to reflect the changes on the same date (October 1). In addition, the revisions will allow for the use of oral fluid testing in certain circumstances. More specific information about the Canadian Model changes can be found at http://www.coaa.ab.ca/bestpractices/safety/tabid/62/default.aspx.

The current Canadian Model provides for the following concentration cut-off levels for urine testing:

Drugs or classes
of drugs
Screening concentration
equal to or in excess of ng/mL
Confirmation concentration
equal to or in excess of ng/mL
Marijuana metabolites 50 15
Cocaine metabolites 300 150
Opiate metabolites 2000 2000
Phencyclidine 25 25
Amphetamines 1000 500

Effective October 1, 2010 the concentration cut-offs levels for urine testing will be:

Drugs or classes
of drugs
Screening concentration
equal to or in excess
of ng/mL
Confirmation concentration
equal to or in excess of
ng/mL
Marijuana
metabolites
50 15
Cocaine metabolites 150 100
Opiate metabolites
- Codeine
- Morphine
2000

2000
2000
2000

Phencyclidine 25 25

Amphetamines /
Methamphetamines
- Amphetamine
-Methamphetamine

MDMA
- MDMA
- MDA
- MDEA

500

 

500

 

 

250
250
 

250
250
250

You may need to make changes to your policies and collective agreements to ensure compliance with the changes. You will also need to provide your employees with notice of the change. We recommend that you contact us directly if you have questions about whether your policy requires changes. Finally, you should prepare for the possibility that you will have more positive test results because of the lower thresholds.

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