A “SAP” is a Substance Abuse Professional who evaluates employees who fail a DOT alcohol and/or drug test. Your SAP will play a significant role in helping you return-to-work by providing an initial SAP Evaluation and a follow up SAP Evaluation. Al’ta Counseling’s Substance Abuse Professionals have specific qualifications and training to perform SAP Evaluations. Many Chemical Dependency professionals in Washington State are unfamiliar with a SAP evaluation.

Evaluations performed by non-qualified SAP will not be accepted by DOT and will delay your return to work. Fines may be imposed on any employer who uses a non-qualified SAP for the required evaluation.

Your SAP must understand alcohol and drug regulations to these six industries.

  • FMCSA - Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration
  • FAA - Federal Aviation Administration
  • FRA - Federal Railroad Administration
  • FTA - Federal Transit Authority
  • USCG - United States Coast Guard
  • PHMSA - Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

The DOT regulation 49 CFR, Part 40 defines the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) as a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment and follow-up testing and aftercare. The Sap is neither an advocate for the employee or the employer. The responsibility of the SAP is to provide comprehensive face-to-face assessment and clinical evaluation to determine what level of assistance the employee needs in resolving problems associated with alcohol or prohibited drug use. Prior to the employee’s return to safety-sensitive duties the SAP is required to conduct a face-to-face follow-up evaluation with the employee to determine if the individual has demonstrated successful compliance with the recommendations of the initial evaluation.

US Department of Transportation
Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Information

During the late 1970s and the early 1980s, the Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) began to become more concerned about the safety of the general public. This was due to the increasing number of traffic accidents caused by truck drivers that were impaired.

In 1988 the FHSA published the first set of rules related to drug testing. The DOT established procedures for implementing those rules for drug testing. During the next four (4) years the rules were updated to include random and post-accident drug testing. The rules and the procedures for implementation were published in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, CFR Parts 39 and 40. In October of 1991, the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act was signed into law. This act required the DOT to establish testing regulations for alcohol and drugs. In December of 2000, the DOT revised 49 CFR Part 40, Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Procedures. The revisions had a final implementation date of 31 December 2003.

The employer is not required to provide a SAP evaluation or the subsequent recommended education or treatment for the employee. However if the employer offers the employee an opportunity to return to safety-sensitive duty, the employer must ensure that the employee goes through the entire SAP return-to-duty process, which includes successful compliance with the SAP’s recommendations. Payment is left for the employers and employees to decide.

DOT Qualified SAP Services

How the SAP process works

Al’ta Counseling and Testing 253-473-7586 or info@AltaCounseling.com

702 Broadway, Suite 102, Tacoma, WA 98402

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