What is the Return to Duty Process?

No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. In the case of drug and alcohol dependence, the circumstances of life may have led to your addiction. If you are an operator in the transport industry, you will be required to undergo regular drug tests. If your addiction has gotten the better of you and you have popped positive on such a test, you will be immediately removed from duty.

This is not the end. You need not fall into further despair.

Most companies in the transportation industry maintain drug treatment programs to help employees who have a substance abuse problem. Although there has been a great deal of talk over the last few decades about zero tolerance, the transportation industry recognizes the fact that they are dealing with human beings, and that human beings encounter conditions of all kinds that lead them astray. Drivers, pilots, and other operators of commercial vehicles constitute a substantial investment on the part of transportation companies. Helping them overcome a substance abuse problem is in the best interest of such a company.

If you have tested positive for drugs, there is a standard Return to Duty Process. It is as follows:

  1. After you have been removed from duty, your employer must provide you with a list of Department of Transportation qualified substance abuse professionals, also known as SAPs.
  2. The SAP will perform a face-to-face evaluation of the employee, and they will make a recommendation for treatment and education. The SAP will also provide documentation of the session.
  3. You will then need to comply with the treatment recommended by the substance abuse professional. The SAP will conduct a follow-up evaluation to determine whether you can safely return to your duties.
  4. Once it has been determined that you are fit to return to duty, you must be drug tested again, and the test must be negative. You are then eligible to return to duty at your employer’s discretion.
  5. After your return, you will be subject to unannounced follow-up testing for the next 1 to 5 years.

There is a wide scientific consensus that there is no cure for addiction; there is only recovery. To sustain your recovery, you will be required to undergo aftercare treatment and encouraged to participate in various support groups.

There is a way to break your addiction and get your life back. The first step is seeking help. Only then will you be able to understand the scale of your problem and what you need to do to resolve it. No one wants to be a drug addict. It is not the kind of thing that anyone wishes to become. However, you are more than the problems you must contend with. You are a professional who is responsible for the lives of many people. A great many people, including your family, rely on you to keep your job and do it safely. A SAP can help you get the help and assistance you need to overcome drug abuse so that you can return to work.

If you operate commercial vehicles, you must be clean and fit for your work. If you have tested positive on a drug test, you must go through Return to Duty Process.