New federal mandatory guidelines for workplace drug testing became effective on October 1, 2017, and include the authority to test for four semi-synthetic opioids: oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone. These are prescription opioid pain medications that have commonly known names such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Dilaudid, etc.
These four prescription pain medications were added to the standard testing panel because data indicates that although they are prescribed, they are the prescription pain medications that are most frequently used without medical authority. However, under the revised Mandatory Guidelines, positive drug testing results that have a legitimate medical explanation (e.g., supported by a valid prescription), as determined by a Medical Review Officer (MRO), will not be reported to federal agencies.
“Revising the Mandatory Guidelines has taken a tremendous amount of coordination across stakeholders and agencies, over a period of several years,” said Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “We felt it necessary to make these revisions because of advances in science and technology and because of the increased misuse of prescription opioids.”
Source: SAMHSA.gov – September 29, 2017