U.S. Department Of Health & Human Services (HHS) Has Published A Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) To add Hair Testing to its  Federal Drug Testing Program. The proposed Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs Using Hair (HMG) is modeled fairly closely off of the guidelines for urine testing.

It’s important to note that this is an NPRM, not a Final Rule and this applies to the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Program only. This proposed rule does apply to the DOT Drug Testing Program (although DOT will need to build their future program off of it).
Here is a summary of the guidelines that HHS is proposing:
  • Federal agencies could add hair testing to their program, but would not be required to add it.
  • Hair testing could be used for Pre-Employment and Random tests only.
  • Only head hair will be used for testing, body hair will not be allowed.
  • Labs will need to go through the NLCP certification process before they can process hair specimens for regulated testing.
  • A federal agency choosing to test hair specimens must authorize collection and testing of at least one other specimen type (e.g., urine or oral fluid) that is authorized under the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. This is referred to as an alternative specimen.
      • An alternative specimen (oral, urine) would need to be collected at the time of the hair test or later if directed by the MRO.
      • The collector may collect an alternative specimen without collecting a hair specimen if the donor does not have enough hair to collect or has a medical or a religious reason that prevents hair from being collected.
      • If an alternative specimen is collected at the time of the hair test, the collector is responsible for notating on the CCF that the lab should hold, not process the alternative specimen, and link the two forms together by referencing each specimen on each CCF.
  • The only scenario that an MRO will report the hair test as a positive is when the donor admits to illicit drug use during the MRO interview.
      • If the lab reports the hair test as positive, and the donor does not have a medical explanation and does not admit to illicit drug use, the MRO will cancel the hair drug test and inform the lab to process the alternative specimen or direct the Federal Agency to send the donor to a collection site for an alternative specimen collection.
  • New reasons for invalid and flawed tests will be added to address issues that could arise specifically for hair testing.
FSSolutions will continue to monitor these guidelines as they make their way through the rulemaking process. We will keep our clients informed of any changes and will be hosting webinars in the near future to go into further details of the proposed changes. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected].
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