Suboxone And Trucking

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Joseph J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone, I want to share something that is going on with me in the hopes of helping others in my situation. 2 years ago I tried to commit suicide. Part of my recovery has included Suboxone, which I truly feel saved my life. There is a lot of ignorance out there. I do not get high off my medication. 6 months ago I embarked on a mission to become an over the road truck driver. I am 56 years old and I am perfect for it. I am experienced from when I was a kid and I'm a great driver, with no tickets or accidents for 25 years. I researched more than humanly possible to see if my Suboxone would interfere. All the info I found said it was okay. My doctor said she had others in dangerous industries on Suboxone. She said Suboxone is covered under the American with disabilities act and companies could not discriminate. She said she would give me a letter stating that I could drive on Suboxone. At this time they don't want to give a letter because of the liability. I spent 5 months working to get my CDL. I Had to get a scholarship, get in school ,etc etc. I started working out, I lost 30 lb, I quit smoking. I wanted to be the best I could be. All the time still checking to see if it's going to be a problem. I even consulted a lawyer and got advice in writing that they could not discriminate. I am OCD with a little touch of paranoid. I even tried to stop the prescription. Trust me when I say that you cannot stop this alone. I will not go into how low I got. When I took my DOT urine test Suboxone showed up. I told the doctor it was only five panel and he agreed. He put NA for the Suboxone. Be aware though, that companies will see it on a urine test as well. My research missed the 12 panel hair follicle test, which a ton of companies are using. I had an offer with Melton truck lines, and I was supposed to fly there Saturday. I had my lawyer review an email that I sent to them being honest. They withdrew their offer. I lost an opportunity with another company as well. I am devastated, and stuck with very few options. Some might say it's just a job in a horrible industry, but it represented a lot more to me. I was also lied to about job opportunities and a hiring freeze of people in South Florida. If I was a felon with a couple of DUIs in my past ( and didn't live in South Florida) I would be driving right now. If I was a drug addict and stopped for a while I could get in a truck. Some may think these are jokes , they are not. If you tell them you stopped using drugs but you won't pass a hair follicle test they will work with you. If you are in my situation you have two options. 1. Get off Suboxone. Do it with your doctor and get as much support as you can get so you don't kill yourself. 2. Stay away from the trucking industry. My time has run out. It could take 6 months to pass a hair follicle test. Thank you for giving me a place to post this. You can't imagine how hard this is for me. Too late for me, but I hope my story can help someone. Common sense has left every area of this world.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Zen Joker (Andy)'s Comment
member avatar

Hello Joseph,

Thank you for posting this and unfortunately anyone in your situation are (as you mentioned) needs to forget about trucking OR get off the prescription. In the interest of clarification, one does not have any basis for a discrimination suit in this matter. Companies MAY discriminate anyone who uses any substance either for recreational purposes or like yourself, for legal, legitimate, and medically qualified purposes if any said substance may reasonably impair a driver's ability to safely operate the vehicle.

Here is a list of Suxoxone common side effects from American Addiction Centers and drugs.com:

Nausea and vomiting, Headache, Sweating, Numb mouth, Constipation, Painful tongue, Dizziness and fainting, Anxiety, Depression, Nervousness, overactive reflexes, poor coordination, puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue rapid weight gain, restlessness shivering talking or acting with excitement you cannot control ***These effects should be monitored as they can potentially lead to opioid relapse.

With that in mind, no company would risk hiring anyone who could be subject to these possible conditions. On the road, these conditions could easily lead to a severe accident which could kill multiple people and result in millions of dollars in losses to any company. Equal Opportunity does not take precendence public safety.

With that said, we hope you can find a different career field soon. Best of success in your future endeavors.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Regarding your "common sense has left every area of this world" statement, I would agree that many things today appear to back this up. In your instance though, I do not see this as the case. You are presenting a huge risk in any driving job, and any trucking company's insurance underwriter would not accept the gamble given your history and medication associated with it. This is not discrimination against you. It is common sense on their part. You are not the perfect candidate as you see yourself to be.

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

Joseph J says:

She said Suboxone is covered under the American with disabilities act and companies could not discriminate

I have no idea what this means. I don't understand how a medication is covered under the American with Disabilities Act.

I can understand if you have a disability and you take prescription medication as a result of that disability. And I understand that employers must make reasonable accommodations for a disabled applicant or employee. But I don't understand how categorically a medication falls under the protections of the Americans with the Disabilities Act.

One of the things we often see on this form is people asking questions based on a particular worldview that is out of sync with the nature and regulations of the trucking industry.

Thus, in addition to your prescription drug use, which most trucking companies will not want to accept you based on the liability, you also have the issue of your underlying mental health issue.

To be quite frank, I do not think that you should pursue a career where the side effects of your medication or another mental health episode could result in fatal consequences not only to you but those in your immediate vicinity.

To hammer this point home, my emotional reaction when someone cuts in front of me to make an exit and slams on the brakes is to wonder if they realize how close to dying they came. And the sad thing about it is it happens multiple times every day.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

No company is going to accept someone with a recent suicide attempt. And two years is recent

I understand and empathize. My father and sister both committed suicide. But medication or not... That fact alone will keep you from trucking for several years. Just getting off the med won't help.

Good luck. Be safe. Stay in your meds that help.

Trucking is very stressful and could have jeopardized your stability.

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

1. I was also lied to about job opportunities and a hiring freeze of people in South Florida

Who lied to you about what? Many companies regularly put a freeze on hiring in FL, especially southern FL. Right now many companies around the US have slowed down hiring experienced drivers let alone students.

2. If I was a felon with a couple with a couple of DUIs in my past (and didn't live in South Florida) I would be driving right now.

Maybe and maybe not. A friend had a couple DUIs and had to wait for 10 years before he could get hired again. He also gets turned down by quite a few companies still and it's been over 15 yrs since he straightened up.

3. If I was a drug addict and stopped for a while I could get in a truck. If you tell them you stopped using drugs but you won't pass a hair follicle test they will work with you.

You are so wrong, especially companies "working with you" regarding the hair follicle test. You fail that, you are pretty much done as a driver. While FMCSA doesn't use hair follicle testing, many companies do and you fail that, you are history with that company and many others. All you have to do is type hair follicle test in the white search box above and see how many people have posted about it and they can't get a job.

4. My time has run out.

Run out for what? You put in a couple applications and you are done? Only if you want it to be. Could the Suboxone keep you from being hired by every company? Maybe or maybe not. Could your suicide attempt keep you from being hired? More than likely.... it's still recent. However, You don't have a clue because you haven't applied everywhere yet.

5. Common sense has left every area of this world.

What common sense are you talking about? Generalities like this is what makes your post appear to be whining and shows you really know nothing about this career, even tho you say you researched it.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

I don't think you have enough appreciation for the amount of risk and danger that goes with operating a CMV , especially a class A vehicle. FMCSA has rules for general physical fitness and being able to operate a CMV across state lines. Many of the physical fitness rules can be worked around with the obtaining of a waiver. But, companies and the insurers of those companies can choose to decline hiring any potential driver who requires a waiver to obtain a medical certificate. What does this mean? It's not discrimination for a company to look at your DOT physical and choose not to hire you, even if the examiner passes you to receive a medical certificate. Whether it high blood pressure that prevents obtaining a 2-year certificate, a specific medication you are prescribed, or any number of potential health matters, possessing a CDL does not carry a right to drive a CMV for a living.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

BK's Comment
member avatar

Joseph, it sounds like you have not had an easy time in life and now this. My heart goes out to you but driving may not be an option for you, based on the other comments. If so, find something else you can dig your teeth into. Good luck to you, young man.

Joseph J.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for your replies and I agree with almost everything you have all said. I do know that there is not a lawsuit. You can determine that by reading the DOT regulations. I agree a company can make their own determination. I disagree when several comments include ignorance about me and my medication. No one reading this can possibly determine my ability. Also, you might want to take a look around you and see who is driving. The purpose of my post was one thing. To advise people on this medication to not trust the information out there. As in most things these days there is conflicting information and tons of ignorance on every subject. I hope someone will read this when they are looking to get in this field. If I had read this article when I started, I would have gone about things differently. That is my only purpose here. Sure I threw a couple rants in there and frustration with society, oh well I'm human. Be careful making judgments about somebody from a couple paragraphs. Do you know what most of society judges you as a truck driver? Ask anyone what they think of when they think of a druck driver. You know exactly what they will say. Are they 100% correct? Are they 50% correct? Are there plenty of videos and drivers in truck stops to back up those views? Let me get in your closet before you judge me. Another rant, but I will be good at this job. I will be safer than most drivers out there. I don't drink, I don't do drugs. How many drivers are on Adderall, antidepressants, pain medicine, cold medicine, etc, etc. How many have a hangover? I can go on and on and on and on. The last thing I will say is that people judge on words incorrectly all the time. You read your own tone. You decide if it's negative or positive, angry or sad. When I wrote it I was devastated and sad, and a little angry at the system. Did you decide to bury my dream or to sympathize and encourage?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

No, the purpose of your posts is you have an axe to grind. A common thread in your eight posts from the two weeks you've been a TT member is you see yourself as a discriminated victim. Only speaking English, too old, location of residence, prescription medication. Your PSA claim of informing everyone getting into the industry for the greater good of the industry is a farce. If you had been hired, completed all the training, and were a driver I doubt you would have appeared on here as the voice of "Watch Out Perspective Driver Candidates".

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