US transportation workers to face testing for prescription opioids next year

Safety-sensitive transportation workers — including flight crew, air traffic controllers, truck drivers in addition to also train engineers — will be screened for several common opioid painkillers starting next year, according to a brand new federal rule published Monday.

Previous drug tests screened for cocaine in addition to also marijuana. The rule adds screening for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone in addition to also oxycodone, the Department of Transportation said.

President Donald Trump last month declared the opioid crisis, which claimed the lives of 64,000 Americans last year, a public health emergency, calling the item a “national shame in addition to also a human tragedy.”

The broadened testing will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

“The opioid crisis is usually a threat to public safety when the item involves safety-sensitive employees involved within the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a Discharge. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly in addition to also provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public in addition to also ultimately save lives.”

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