Substance Abuse Professional
A substance abuse professional (SAP) is an individual who has been trained and certified to conduct evaluations on employees under the Department of Transportation and facilitate SAP Programs for employees with alcohol and drug violations. The SAP must be a licensed physician, psychologist, social worker, or counselor. They must know about and have experience diagnosing and treating alcohol and drug abuse. The SAP must complete an SAP training course approved by the DOT. This course must be taken every two years to maintain certification. The duties of an SAP include, but are not limited to, the following:
The background of the Substance Abuse Professional can be traced back to the late 1960s, when the Department of Transportation (DOT) was established. In 1971, the DOT issued regulations prohibiting truck and bus drivers from using alcohol and drugs while on duty. These regulations also required employers to test drivers for alcohol and drugs following accidents and to take action against drivers who violated the rules.
In 1986, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established within the DOT, and the alcohol and drug testing regulations were transferred to the FMCSA. The FMCSA continued to require employers to test drivers for alcohol and drugs following accidents and to take action against drivers who violated the regulations.
In 1993, the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act was passed, which required DOT-regulated employers to test employees for drugs and alcohol. The Act also required the FMCSA to develop regulations specifying circumstances under which drivers would be required to undergo SAP evaluations.
The first SAP regulations were published in 1996 and have been amended several times. The current regulations require that a driver who tests positive for drugs or alcohol or refuses to submit to a drug or alcohol test must be evaluated by a Substance Abuse Professional. The SAP must determine whether the driver has a substance abuse problem and, if so, what treatment is necessary for the driver to return to duty safely.
If you are interested in learning more, visit our website at www.sapevaluation.org or call us at 800-683-7745.