US Department Of Transportation (DOT) Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Evaluations


The Substance Abuse Professional's (SAP) primary function is to protect the public safety interest by providing evaluations of employees and making recommendations concerning appropriate education, treatment, follow-up tests, and aftercare, in the event that the employee returns to the performance of safety-sensitive functions. The Federal Department of Transportation has approved Craig Rich to perform DOT Safety Sensitive Alcohol/Drug Evaluations as a Substance Abuse Professional to meet the needs of those who are required to participate in specific protocols to ensure public safety so as to return to duty after testing positive for alcohol/drugs.

For the Employer
Company Information and Procedures for DOT / SAP Evaluations

As the employer, you are required by law to provide your employee or prospective employee with the name and contact information of a SAP evaluator.  You are not required by law to pay for the evaluation, but you may if you choose.  

EMPLOYER: When you refer an employee or prospective employee, we will need the following information from you during your initial phone call, or when completing our Request For SAP Services form:

1) Your name, title, company name, address, phone number
2) Type of DOT Modality (i.e., FMCSA, FRA, FTA, FAA, PHMSA or USCG)
3) Employee name, address, phone number, social security number and date of birth
4) Violation and date of violation
5) Current employment status of employee
6) Name of Designated Employee Representative (“DER”) if different from your own
7) Who is responsible for payment: the employer or the employee.  (If fees are to be paid by the employer, full payment can be forwarded to Columbus Aftercare at the time of the referral or an invoice can accompany the initial report.)

What is involved for the SAP?

As the "Gatekeeper" for DOT's return-to-duty process, an SAP evaluation must necessarily be thorough and comprehensive. The components of an SAP evaluation centers upon an in person interview which includes completion of the following evidence-based measures: Behavioral Health Index (bio psychosocial assessment), the SASSI (Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory), the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST), and the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST).

The initial DOT SAP evaluation is a minimum of 2 hours, with a follow-up session of 30 minutes to discuss the results and recommendations of the evaluation with the employee. Whether a recommendation for substance-misuse Risk Reduction (education), or treatment modalities which could include Outpatient treatment, Intensive Outpatient treatment, Short-Term Residential treatment, or Medical Detoxification is warranted; the appropriate referral(s) will be made and your SAP will work closely with the treatment providers in question to track your referral's compliance, progress, and involvement.

The SAP's 2nd Evaluation of an employee to return-to-duty is vital for the employer in gauging the employee's success in meeting the requirements outlined in the Initial Evaluation. The employee's ability to demonstrate successful compliance with the initial treatment recommendation is key to an employer's decision to return an employee to safety-sensitive duties. This evaluation and the completion of a final report is ordinarily 3 hours in duration.



For the Employee
Is your company regulated by one of six agencies governed by the US Department of Transportation?

  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
Pipeline And Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
United States Coast Guard (USCG)

If so, you know the return-to-duty guidelines must be followed for any employee who is found to be operating in a safety-sensitive position while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Department of Transportation's (DOT) rule, 49 CFR Part 40, describes required procedures for conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing for the Federally regulated transportation industry. Department of Transportation regulations state all employers must provide their employees with  contact information of a SAP,  even if the employer chooses to immediately terminate employment due to a failed urine screen.

Have you been placed on a "non-sensitive duty" due to failing an alcohol / drug screen, or were you terminated by your employer due to failing a DOT alcohol / drug test?

DOT rules state you are not allowed to return to safety sensitive duty with any company until you complete the SAP process.  The good news is, you don't have to give up your career.  Call Columbus Aftercare today at (706) 761-2998 to schedule your SAP evaluation and take the first step towards getting your career back on track.

What is a DOT SAP evaluation?

Any employee covered under the rules of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines 49 CFR Part 40 may be subject to drug and alcohol screens for a variety of reasons, including post accident testing, “for cause” testing, and simply random testing.   Any employee who tests positive for alcohol above certain limits, or who tests positive for a controlled substance must seek an evaluation by a qualified “Substance Abuse Professional” or “SAP” .    

The SAP is qualified by 1) holding certain credentials which indicate they have sufficient training or education to provide such evaluations, 2) attending a training on DOT rules which has been approved by the Department of Transportation, and 3) passing a qualifying exam.   

The SAP evaluation consists of a verbal interview and written testing to determine whether substance misuse exists in the employee, and what type of treatment education, or other services may be appropriate to address the misuse.   The SAP evaluator must follow the employee through the time the employee is ready to return to work.  A second evaluation is required prior to the employee’s returning to work.   

Once the employee begins the process with one SAP, he/she must stay with that SAP  throughout the process.  

How does the SAP process work?

First, a confirmed DOT violation for alcohol or illicit drugs exists. At that time, the employee must stand down from safety sensitive duties, and cannot return to safety sensitive duties until the employee, or returned to duty, by a certified SAP.

Second, Employee schedules an appointment for a face-to-face initial assessment. After the assessment, the SAP provides the employee, and the present/previous employer, with an initial report, which includes a recommendation for substance abuse education and/or treatment. 

Third, Employee completes recommended treatment/education.

Fourth, Employee schedules and attends follow up SAP appointment. This is the Return to Duty appointment. SAP provides the employee and the present/former employer copy of follow up report.

Fifth, Get a negative drug/alcohol, test. This test will be ordered by your past, present or future employer.

Sixth, Go back to work ! You are now free to resume safety-sensitive duties governed under DOT rules and regulations.