The Fighting Opioid Abuse in Transportation Act is dedicated to, as you can probably guess, fighting opioid abuse in the transportation sector of the United States. To accomplish the Act’s goal, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) plans to hold a virtual meeting to discuss whether or not fentanyl testing should become a prevalent requirement in numerous industries, including trucking.
“Fentanyl accounts for a large proportion of overdose deaths in the United States and is therefore an important public safety concern,” said the SAMHSA announcement regarding the virtual meeting it plans to have on December 5th, 2023. “Furthermore, fentanyl is increasingly used as a stand-alone substance of abuse, not in conjunction with heroin and other substances.”
“Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin,” the agency has also said on its website. “Because of its powerful opioid properties, fentanyl is also diverted for abuse.”
Side effects of the drug include fainting, seizures and death: three things you do not want a driver of a large vehicle to experience because of the exponentially increased risk of a crash. So why would the SAMHSA be opposed to the testing? The answer is because of cost-effectiveness. The question is ultimately whether or not it is worth the burden of having to test every trucker for the drug that only a select few would ever use.
The virtual meeting will be an open session, meaning that you can listen in on it starting at 10 A.M. Eastern on December 5th. You can read more about the announcement with the published Notice of Meeting in the Federal Register. Registering for the event itself can be done on this webpage, where the meeting will be held over a Zoom call.
The ultimate question is this: is fentanyl testing worth the effort that would have to be put into it? While we shudder at the thought of a driver using such a drug, especially on the job, there are always those rare bad apples that just make everything harder for everyone else. After all, a healthy percentage of truckers know better than to drink and drive, but some odd number of folks still insist on doing it.
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