What is an SAP?
The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.
As an SAP you represent the major decision point (and in some cases the only decision point) an employer may have in choosing whether or not to place an employee behind the steering wheel of a school bus, in the cockpit of a plane, at the helm of an oil tanker, at the throttle of a train, in the engineer compartment of a subway car, or at the emergency control valves of a natural gas pipeline. Your responsibility to the public is enormous!
As an SAP you are advocate for neither the employer nor the employee. Your function is to protect the public interest in safety by professionally evaluating the employee and recommending appropriate education and/or treatment, follow-up tests, and aftercare.
How The SAP Process Works:
With the above in mind, it is important for SAPs to fully understand and comply with the regulations. Therefore, the SAP should be familiar with 49 CFR Part 40 while paying particular attention to the following Subparts:
Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Guidelines
These guidelines, together with the 49 CFR Part 40, and the DOT Operating Administration rules, provide SAPs with the information needed in the performance of their DOT-related duties. It is included here for your reference.ODAPC SAP Guide Aug09.pdf
The following is a listing of federal agencies that fall under the SAP process. Click on the links to review regulations and guidelines.
USCG – United States Coast Guard
What is the return-to-duty process?
The return-to-duty process must be completed when an individual violates the Federal Department of Transportation alcohol and drug testing rules. Safety-sensitive-duties cannot be performed until the return-to-duty process is complete.
What does the return-to-duty process involve?
The return-to-duty process consists of the following: An Alcohol and Drug evaluation with recommendations for treatment or education based on severity and need of the individual.
The return-to-duty process consists of the following:
Can any counselor serve the SAP function?
The U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines are quite specific and require a SAP to have specific credentials, to have basic knowledge in specified content areas, to complete a comprehensive SAP training, and to satisfactorily complete a SAP exam.
What is the role of the SAP in the evaluation, referral, and treatment process of an employee who has violated DOT agency drug and alcohol testing regulations?
An SAP is not an advocate for the employer or employee. The SAP’s function is to protect the public interest in safety by professionally evaluating the employee and recommending appropriate education/treatment, follow-up tests, and aftercare.
How do I know if I fall under DOT requirements?
Employers with Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated safety sensitive employees are subject to the regulatory requirements specified in 49 CFR Part 40 regarding drug and alcohol misuse prevention. Any employer required to comply with DOT regulations must provide an individual who has tested positive for drugs or alcohol on a DOT mandated test with information about a qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).
What credential does an SAP have?
An SAP must have one of the following credentials:
Is what I say to an SAP confidential?
The regulation that guides SAPs is not subject to HIPAA rules. Accordingly, SAPs need no written authorizations from employees to conduct SAP evaluations, to confer with employers, to confer with MROs, to confer with appropriate education and treatment providers, or to provide SAP reports to employers.
What are your fees?
The consultation fee is $550.
Credit cards are accepted, but there is an additional service fee to cover the cost of processing.
This includes the initial evaluation, referral, tracking for the initial referral, and the follow-up evaluation.
Consultation for additional referral tracking and follow-up is billed at an hourly rate of $175.
Travel expenses are billed separately from the consultation fee.