What is a Substance Abuse Professional?
of Transportation (DOT) defines the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) as “a
person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol
regulation, such as testing positive for alcohol and controlled substance use,
or refusing to be tested. The SAP makes recommendations concerning education,
treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.”
A SAP is defined as
an individual who is a licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy), a
licensed or certified social worker, a licensed or certified psychologist, a
licensed or certified employee assistance professional, or an alcohol and drug
abuse counselor certified by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug
Abuse Counselors Certification Commission (NAADAC)
or by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (ICRC).
The SAP must have
knowledge of and clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of substance
abuse-related disorders and understand how the SAP role relates to the special
responsibilities employers have for ensuring the safety of the traveling public.
The SAP must receive qualification training and complete an examination given by
a nationally recognized professional or training organization and must
comprehensively cover all the elements required for the qualification training.
The SAP must also complete at east 12 professional development hours every three
All positive tests
and refusal to test now have consequences. Only DOT specially trained
SAP's can provide the drug and alcohol assessments. The SAP MUST require
education and/or treatment in all cases. In order for the employee to
return to work, they must comply with the recommendations. The
return-to-duty process is mandatory following completion of SAP recommendations.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) issued revisions to the drug and alcohol
testing procedures in 49 CFR Part 40 effective August 1, 2001. One of the
revisions deals with the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and Return-to-Duty.
Assessment with Treatment
Referrals for Appropriate
Follow Up Assessment
For a complete review of the
49 CFR Part 40 or SAP guidelines, download the
following file (available in both WORD and PDF formats):
Overview of 49 CFR Part 40 DOT
from the DOT website
Overview of the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy and Compliance from the DOT website
What is an SAP from the DOT Web Site
pdf format Click Here
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download is free.