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Newly Expanded DOT Drug Testing Panel Likely Slowing Down Result Time from Labs

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Newly Expanded DOT Drug Testing Panel Likely Slowing Down Result Time from Labs

Written By Lucas Kibby

Companies held to Department of Defense (DOT) drug testing regulations (CFR Part 40) should be aware that results from the newly expanded DOT 5 panel that added semi-synthetic opioids (hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone) is likely slowing down the time it takes to get results back from the labs.


To explain why this may be happening, let’s briefly look at the DOT testing process.

  • This process begins when the donor goes to a collection site for a DOT drug test. The collection site receives the specimen from the donor and then send the specimen to a lab overnight.
  • The lab receives it and tests the donor’s specimen. If the result is “non-negative”, the lab will perform a confirmation test, per DOT rules.
  • After this, then all results are sent to a Medical Review Officer (MRO). The MRO matches results to the chains of custody before finally releasing the results to the TPA (like CleanFleet) or employer.


Some common delays in this DOT testing process may include getting the specimen to the lab (sometimes not overnight), MROs not receiving chains of custody and has to take extra time to obtain it, and, as of January 1, 2018, the DOT testing process at labs is taking longer likely due to more confirmation tests happening because of the expanded panel causing more positive or “non-negative” results.


So how long of a delay are we seeing?


Generally, urine test results from labs took 24-48 hours with the old DOT 5 panel. We are now finding lab results not coming back until 72-96 hours later. This is likely to delay hiring decisions for another day or two.


At CleanFleet, we recognize the urgency which employers need these results and we are doing our best to accommodate, as common delays at labs or MROs is out of our hands. We are working closely with our labs and MROs to get results as quickly as possible.


If you have questions on the status of particular results, please reach out to us.


02 Feb, 18

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There are 2 comments. on "Newly Expanded DOT Drug Testing Panel Likely Slowing Down Result Time from Labs"


  • ***John Johnson*** says: posted on 24 Jul, 2019

    Well then the test actually is invalid because they have 72hours to report results.

    • ***Brian Gray*** says: posted on 01 Aug, 2019

      The regulations actually state that once the MRO receives the verified positive results, they have 24 hours to report it to the employer. If the employee opts to have the split specimen tested, he or she must make the request to the MRO within 72 hours.

      While the process is necessary to ensure the integrity of results, the timeline can be frustrating for employers who are eager for answers. The sample’s transit alone can take 24-72 hours. And while the MRO receives the initial results fast digitally, it could take them up to 96 hours to confirm test results if the donor is difficult to reach.


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