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Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs)

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2015

What New Drivers Need To Know About Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs):

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare. In order to be a SAP , you need to have certain credentials, possess specific knowledge, receive training, and achieve a passing score on an examination. There is also a continuing education requirement.

The Role Of Substance Abuse Professionals In The DOT: SAPS serve in an impartial role, and do not advocate specifically for either the employer or employee. Their job is to evaluate whether or not your drug/alcohol test failure should keep you out of the seat of an 80,000 pound vehicle.

SAPs represent the major decision point (and in some cases the only decision point) an employer may have in choosing whether or not to place an employee behind the steering wheel of a school bus, in the cockpit of a plane, at the helm of an oil tanker, at the throttle of a train, in the engineer compartment of a subway car, or at the emergency control valves of a natural gas pipeline.

Their function is to protect the public interest in safety by professionally evaluating the employee and recommending appropriate education and/or treatment, follow-up tests, and aftercare.

Credentials For SAP's: Substance abuse professionals are required to be either doctors, or social workers/counselors, or professionals otherwise certified by recognized organizations.

You cannot be a SAP unless you are a licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy); or a licensed or certified social worker; or a licensed or certified psychologist; or a licensed or certified employee assistance professional; or a state-licensed or certified marriage and family therapist; 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 Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (ICRC), or by the National Board of Certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates/Master Addictions Counselor (NBCC).

Knowledge Required Of SAP's: SAPS must be experienced in the realm of substance abuse and treatment, especially DOT testing and evaluation procedures, and should have gone through significant further education on the subject.

SAPS must have knowledge of and clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse-related disorders. You cannot be a SAP without understanding how the SAP role relates to the special responsibilities employers have for ensuring the safety of the traveling public. Nor can you be a SAP unless you are well informed about Part 40 PART 40 - Procedures For Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs, pertinent DOT agency regulations, these SAP guidelines, and any significant changes to them. It is important to note that your degrees and certificates alone do not confer to you these knowledge requirements.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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