Both alcohol and anabolic steroids might be added to the DOE workplace substance abuse program for contractor employees.

DOE May Test Contractors for Alcohol, Steroids

Its Office of Health, Safety and Security seeks comments about potentially adding both to its current program, which randomly tests for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine, and amphetamines.

The Department of Energy may expand its workplace substance abuse program for contractor employees significantly by adding anabolic steroids and alcohol. Currently, the agency randomly tests for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine, and amphetamines. DOE's Office of Health, Safety and Security asked Friday for comments on the idea and wants them by Oct. 28.

Comments may be e-mailed to Jacqueline D. Rogers in that office, at jackie.rogers@hq.doe.gov. The request's docket number is HS-RM-10-WSAP, and DOE will make them available at http://www.hss.energy.gov/healthsafety/WSHP/rule851/rule707.html.

DOE since July 1992 has prohibited the use, possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture of illegal drugs by contractors and subcontractors performing work at its sites. Its program includes education and training; testing of certain employees in sensitive positions; employee assistance; and removal, treatment, and rehabilitation of employees.

Signed by Glenn S. Podonsky, chief Health, Safety and Security officer for the office, the request for comments includes 11 questions. Among them are:

  • Should the Department's contractor programs consider expanding randomized drug testing to include anabolic steroids, synthetic opiates, newer amphetamines, and other new prescription drugs, among others, to this list of drugs it routinely test for? If so, please specify what drugs should be added and why and provide evidence to support this addition.
  • Are there prescription and/or legal over-the-counter medications or supplements that provide false positives for anabolic steroids? If so, should use of these medications or supplements by employees of DOE contractors or subcontractors performing work at DOE sites be prohibited and tested for?
  • Are there products available for sale in the United States or by import to the United States that mask prohibited drug use or anabolic steroid use? If so, what are these products and should their use by DOE contractor or subcontractor employees performing work at DOE sites be prohibited? Are there reliable and economically feasible means by which to test for these products?
  • Are there reliable (i.e., adequately sensitive and specific) analytical testing methods and/or procedures currently available for anabolic steroids?
  • Compared to the types of drugs and classes of drugs currently being tested for, is it economically feasible (i.e., cost effective) at this time to test for anabolic steroids? What is the cost per test for anabolic steroids? What other costs are associated with testing for anabolic steroids?
  • Currently, DOE contractors' substance abuse programs do not include policies, procedures, and/or protocols for controlling the use of alcohol while performing work at a DOE site. Should the Department consider adding the use of alcohol to its contractors' workplace substance abuse program for its contractors? If so, why, what means of measurement of consumed alcohol should be used, and what measure of consumed alcohol should be prohibited at DOE sites?
  • Are there any Federal Agencies with policies and procedures for controlling the use of alcohol affecting the workplace? If so, which Agency, and should DOE consider adopting its protocols and procedures for the use of alcohol in the workplace?
  • The use of alcohol, even in small amounts, can impair judgment and affect the ability to perform critical duties. If an individual in a critical or sensitive position at a DOE site consumes alcohol while off duty, how long should that individual be required to abstain from alcohol use prior to reporting for duty?
  • Should the Department consider requiring its medical review officers to obtain and maintain medical review officer certification? If so, how often should certification occur?

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