SAP Evaluations are crucial to any DOT Return to Duty Process. These types of evaluations can only be conducted by Substance Abuse Professionals who make recommendations for employees who have violated department of transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol regulations. SAP evaluations or substance abuse evaluations are face-to-face clinical assessments aimed at determining what type of treatment, education, or solution the employee in violation would need to resolve their alcohol or drug use problems. Whether done in person or virtually via telehealth, face-to-face is a mandatory component of any SAP evaluation because it allows the substance abuse professional an opportunity to look for critical physical cues vital to the evaluation process.
Questions about drug and alcohol use history are the most important. These questions will ask about duration, frequency, the amount used, the substance of choice, and even emotional and physical characteristics of use. Ultimately all attention will be placed on the final results and ruling of the employee’s violation and why they are required to complete an SAP evaluation.
Meeting with a Substance abuse professional to get an SAP evaluation done is significant after a violation occurs, but getting the proper treatment/education before returning to a safety-sensitive position is just as important. At the end of the SAP evaluation, a diagnosis, course of treatment, and treatment plan is then provided by the SAP. The DOT employee must comply with all recommendations before clearance to return to work can be granted. Based on the evaluation, recommendations could be for in-patient treatment, partial in-patient treatment, out-patient treatment, education programs, and in some cases aftercare. Since your SAP is responsible for facilitating your return to duty process, it is not uncommon for them to assist you in finding or referring you to treatment providers. This completes the SAP evaluation portion of your SAP Program, and the next time you should see your SAP is at the end of your treatment program for a follow-up evaluation.