Substance Abuse Professionals – Thriveworks Philadelphia
If you have failed a drug test at your job, and your position falls under the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), you will need to see a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).
Thriveworks Philadelphia SAPs, in accordance with the guidelines of the DOT, are the professionals who evaluate employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and make recommendations concerning the education, treatment, follow-up testing and after care of the individual. The SAP is the monitor of the process.
A SAP “represents the major decision point (and, in some cases, the only decision point) an employer may have in choosing whether or not to place an employee behind the steering wheel of a school bus, in the cockpit of a plane, at the helm of an oil tanker, at the throttle of a train, in the engineer compartment of a subway car or at the emergency control valves of a natural gas pipeline, according to the U.S. DOT.
The SAP has a significant responsibility to the millions of people who travel the various modes of transportation throughout the country. He is the individual who has the authority to say that the employee has or has not successfully complied with his recommendation. The rules related to the drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees include those individuals in the following areas:
- Mass transit
- Other transportation industries
The Mission of the U.S. DOT
The mission of the U.S. Department of Transportation is to:
Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.
Refusing to Take a DOT Drug or Alcohol Test
If you refuse to take a DOT drug or alcohol test, do you know what happens?*
- You will be immediately removed from the performance of any safety-sensitive function until you complete the Return-to-Duty Process.
- You will need to see a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional and comply with the education and/or rehabilitation requirements.
- You could have a hard time finding another job.
- You must complete the Return-to-Duty Process, including directly observed tests, and you may have to pay for those tests.
- Your certificate, license, rating and authorization may be revoked, suspended or restricted.
*Information from the U.S. DOT.
What Do SAPs Do?
A SAP’s responsibilities are:
- Making a face-to-face clinical assessment and evaluation to determine what assistance is needed by the employee to resolve problems associated with alcohol and/or drug use.
- Referring the employee to an appropriate education and/or treatment program.
- Conducting a face-to-face, follow-up evaluation to determine if the employee has actively participated in the education and/or treatment program and has demonstrated successful compliance with the initial assessment and evaluation recommendations.
- Providing the Designated Employer Representative with a follow-up drug and/or alcohol testing plan for the employee.
- Providing the employee and employer with recommendations for continuing education and/or treatment.
A SAP is not an advocate for the employer or the employee. The function of a SAP is to protect the public interest in safety by professionally evaluating the employee and recommending the appropriate education/treatment, follow-up tests and aftercare. In addition, it is important to note that the SAP does not provide counseling of the employee.
At Thriveworks in Chesterfield, the SAPs are professionally licensed and knowledgeable of the DOT guidelines. They have the following:
- Clinical experience in the diagnosis of substance abuse-related disorders.
- An understanding of how the SAP role relates to the responsibilities employers have for ensuring the safety of the traveling public.
- Meet all SAP standards and training requirements.
- Hold qualifications and credentials to fill the role of SAP.
- Regularly attend continuing education activities.
- Demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of reporting that the employee has or has not complied with the SAP’s recommendation.
- A passing score on the examination for the role of SAP.
- Understand the U.S. DOT’s expanded and revised drug use and alcohol misuse prevention rules for the commercial transportation industries.
- Possess the background and reasoning of the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program.
- Know the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing rules.
- Knowledge of DOT drug testing requirements, such as laboratory testing and collections.
- Understand the role of the SAP in the initial employee evaluation, referrals for education and/or treatment, the follow-up evaluation, continuing treatment recommendation and the follow-up testing plan.
- Knowledge of reporting and record-keeping requirements.
What Must I do to Return to Duty?
SAPs do not make a “fitness for duty” determination as part of the re-evaluation (unless required to do so under an applicable DOT agency regulation). The employer (the DOT) decides whether the employee should be placed back to work in a safety-sensitive position. In short, the SAP is the person who verifies if the employee has successfully complied with his initial recommendation.
Who is qualified to be a SAP?
Credentials are mandatory to act as a SAP. In order to fill this vital role, an individual must possess one of the following credentials.
- Licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy).
- Licensed or certified social worker.
- Licensed or certified psychologist.
- Licensed or certified employee assistance professional.
- State-Licensed marriage and family therapist.
- A drug and alcohol counselor certified by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Certification Commission; or by the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse; or by the National Board for certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates/Master Addictions Counselor.
How Soon Can I Get an Appointment With the SAP?
Thriveworks SAPs typically schedule initial evaluations within five business days. In addition, the SAP’s recommendation about appropriate education and/or treatment program is dependent on your specific needs, which includes the presence of and, if identified, severity of your drug or alcohol problem. The SAP will identify the level of drug and/or alcohol use in order to make the recommendation about education and/or treatment.