What Exactly Is A Substance Abuse Professional?- 19 Jul
A Substance Abuse Professional or SAP plays a very important role in drug and alcohol testing and keeping an effective drug-free workplace program.
Certain safety-sensitive positions require employers to have a designed SAP, like those that are under Department of Transportation regulation. However, it is considered best practice for all employers to have their own designated Substance Abuse Professional, especially if they desire to maintain a drug-free workplace.
SAPs are responsible for evaluating employees who have violated a drug or alcohol regulation and making recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare. These professionals can help your employees overcome these addictions and keep your work environment safe.
Who can be an SAP?
According to DOT regulations, a qualified SAP should have a basic knowledge of the following areas:
-The diagnosis and treatment of alcohol and controlled substance-related disorders with some clinical experience
-The SAP role and function in relation to employer interests and safety-sensitive duties
-DOT agency regulations and DOT SAP guidelines
An SAP must also have at least one of the following qualifications: a licensed physician, a licensed or certified social worker, a licensed or certified psychologist, a licensed or certified Employee Assistance Professional, a state-licensed or certified marriage and family therapist, or be drug and alcohol certified by the NAADAC, ICRC, or NBCC.
What will our SAP do?
If an accident, report, or cause for reasonable suspicion comes to a supervisor’s attention, that individual should be tested as soon as possible for drugs and/or alcohol. (If you have questions about how to set up reasonable suspicion or post-accident testing, let us know!) If the employee in question has tested positive, the SAP must have two face-to-face evaluations with the individual (according to DOT regulations).
The first initial evaluation is for the SAP to determine the depth of the problem and what assistance or steps will be required to help the employee. The SAP will then send a letter/email to the employer with the employee’s details along with their recommendations for treatment/education.
After the education or treatment has been approved and the employee has completed all of the recommendations made by the SAP, the SAP will conduct a follow-up evaluation. After the follow-up, the SAP can help recommend follow-up testing requirements for the employer to have the employee in question complete. These requirements can often include:
-A minimum of 6 drug or alcohol test in the first 12 months (continuing for up to 5 years)
-No advance notice of testing dates
-Testing to be done under direct observation
-Inability to substitute other tests in lieu of follow-up testing
-Cancelled follow-up tests must be recollected
A qualified and compliant SAP can help keep your workplace environment safe and protect you as an employer, even if you are not a DOT regulated company.
If you need help understanding how to begin drug testing or other services that could potentially benefit your drug testing program, please reach out to our drug testing department. We’re always happy to help!