In comments submitted to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, AMSA President Joseph M. Harrison said a proposal to adopt uniform validation standards when urine specimens are collected "addresses a concern shared by many motor carriers and is one that AMSA welcomes.
"While AMSA may not possess the technical expertise to judge whether a specific proposed standard is better than another that might have been considered, AMSA enthusiastically supports the proposal that all urine samples collected pursuant to a federal workplace drug testing program be subjected to validity testing, and handled in a uniform, prescribed and predictable manner."
He pointed out that AMSA and its members are aware that drivers are offered a variety of opportunities to obscure the true content of urine submitted for drug tests. For instance, Harrison noted. drivers may add a chemical substance to the urine designed to mask or destroy the drug or drug metabolite, or the assay reagent used to identify a drug or drug metabolite. Another example of tampering is diluting the urine sample with a substance that decreases the concentration of a suspected substance below that which is needed to declare the sample positive for an illegal drug. Some drivers simply substitute a suspect specimen with a sample thought to be drug-free.
"Subjecting all urine specimens to validity testing offers a measure of assurance that adulterated or diluted specimens will be identified as such," Harrison said. "Moreover, individuals who place other motorists' safety at risk by continuing to operate commercial motor vehicles while in possession of prohibited substances will be taken off the highways."