The Trump administration has finalized a new regulation, mandating opioid testing for certain transportation workers, including air traffic controllers, pilots, railroad engineers and truck drivers. According to a release issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT) on Nov. 13, 2017, the department has expanded its current drug testing panel to include certain semi-synthetic opioids like oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and oxycodone for industries regulated by it. The latest move is viewed as an extra effort to promote safety and effectively counter the ongoing opioid epidemic, which has torn the country apart.
“The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives,” she added.
The new regulation comes in the light of the declaration of public health emergency over the opioid crisis. President Donald Trump had earlier faced huge criticism for failing to respond effectively to arrest the crisis. Until now, the DOT has managed to conduct a five-panel drug tests, which cover cocaine, marijuana and phencyclidine (PCP) in the case of safety-sensitive transportation workers. The new tests, which will include four prescription opioids, will be effective from Jan. 1, 2018.
In recent years, passengers’ safety has been a matter of concern in the United States. A recent Channel 3 News report revealed that hundreds of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers failed random drug and alcohol tests at airports nationwide. According to federal records, a total of 858 TSA workers have flunked drug tests since 2010. Besides alcohol, other drugs detected in TSA employees were cocaine, heroin, marijuana, amphetamines and PCP.
Prescription opioids can’t cure disease completely
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that consequences of the opioid epidemic have surpassed barriers of age, gender, class and geography, killing around 78 Americans each day due to an overdose. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), millions struggle with excruciating pain every year causing a phenomenal surge in medical and rehabilitation expenses and a sharp decline in productivity. It’s high time to acknowledge the fact that opioid painkillers, once viewed as lifesavers, are actually proving to be life-wreckers.
Generally, opioids are used to cope with painful conditions. Though prescription opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin ease the throbbing pain by deactivating the neuron cell receptors in the brain, they don’t cure the disease completely. In fact, the same opioid receptors that respond to pain signals also control emotional impulses such as feelings of pleasure and cravings to get high. Such a terrific interdependence heightens the risk of addiction.
Leading a drug-free life
America is going through a calamitous opioid crisis, which never stops contributing to the increasing numbers of overdose deaths. Unwary younger Americans are getting addicted to opioids. Teens and young adults are poorly informed about the consequences of opioid misuse and the perils of exceeding the prescribed doses. Moreover, physicians and health care professionals have failed to inform patients about appropriate disposal methods and the probability of slipping into addiction, making the situation worse.
Opioid addiction can be treated with a timely medical intervention. Sovereign Health is a leading behavioral health care provider in the U.S. Specialists at our world-class drug addiction rehabs in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatment for drug addiction in California as well as group psychotherapy based on the patient’s requirements. If you or your loved one is battling addiction to opioids or any other substance, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives.