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Definition - What does SAMHSA mean?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that establishes official guidelines for administering alcohol and drug testing protocols that operate across various business sectors. Many employers introduce drug testing programs including pre-employment tests, annual physical exams, for-cause/reasonable suspicion tests, post-accident tests, and post-treatment tests.

SureHire explains SAMHSA

The SAMHSA-based system for setting drug testing parameters reflects the type of testing being conducted where employers may request urine, hair, saliva, or sweat samples correlating with a specific drug metabolite for analysis pending test results. A host of drug testing panels are available to employers targeting different classes of drugs and their derivative compounds listed as follows: amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, hydrocodone, marijuana, MDMA (ecstasy), methadone, methaqualone, phencyclidine (PCP), and propoxyphene. Employers must incorporate drug testing programs consistent with the SAMHSA paradigm, utilizing certified laboratories that adhere to a chain-of-custody protocol where definitive test results undergo interpretative analysis by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). In Canada, many companies have adopted alcohol and drug testing policies that coincide with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) CFR 49 Part 40 clause with comparatively lax measures. However, individuals who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) where international transit of freight between the U.S./Canada border falls under the DOT-based jurisdiction are subject to comply with mandatory lab-based urine drug testing and random drug testing. Following the Department of Defense (DOD) and DOT-based methodology, employers may contend with individuals over positive test results, invoking the privilege to seek additional testing from a different laboratory facility. This approach serves as a dual benefit by upholding the privacy rights of the individual and deterring liabilities against the employer in the way of appointing a candidate or reinstating an employee to a safety-sensitive position.

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