The long-anticipated expansion of the drug testing panel to include the opioid drugs (i.e., hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone and oxymorphone) for DOT-mandated testing will NOT take place on October 1, 2017. The DOT will continue its rulemaking process to issue a final rule revising 49 CFR Part 40, and once complete, will announce an implementation date for DOT-regulated employers to begin testing for the additional opioid drugs.
Keep in mind that, while the expanded opiates panel was not approved for DOT, it will be available as an option for federal agencies. The federal agencies subject to testing under the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Testing Programs (MG) are authorized, but not required, to use expanded opiate panels for federal employees in testing designated positions.
WorkforceQA will keep you apprised of these regulatory changes when final rulemaking is completed and an implementation date is established. Until then, for DOT-regulated employers, a change to your DOT testing panel is not necessary nor permitted.