After a failed drug test, you’ll need to complete a DOT SAP program to return to work. The timeframe for this process depends on a variety of factors, but you’re in control of most of them. The sooner you comply with recommendations from your SAP, the sooner you can return to work. Read on to learn how long the DOT SAP program is.
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Steps in the DOT SAP Program
To understand how long a SAP program takes, you need to know the steps involved. These include:
- Removal from all safety-sensitive job duties following a failed drug test
- An in-person consultation with a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional
- Education, treatment, counseling, or other steps the SAP recommends
- Follow-up SAP evaluation and drug test
- Release to work upon successful completion of the SAP program
The consultation and follow-up testing procedures do not take long, but the intervention planning in between is less predictable. Your Substance Abuse Professional will recommend steps that are tailored to your unique situation.If you fulfill those steps in a timely manner, you’ll breeze through your SAP program.
How Long Does It Take to See a SAP?
At American Substance Abuse Professionals, we try to move the process along as quickly as possible. Most of our clients have a consultation within 48 hours of contacting us. With that said, there are some factors that may delay your initial consultation, such as the holiday season or other scheduling conflicts. Currently, the DOT allows SAPs to conduct virtual consultations, so this also speeds the process.
How Long Does the Return-to-Duty Process Take?
The actual RTD process may take weeks or months, depending on the treatment or education you must complete. Someone with a longstanding history of substance abuse may require more counseling than someone who failed a drug test for the first time.
Thankfully, you are in control of this step. Your SAP will outline exactly what you need to do. If you stay diligent with your efforts, you’ll minimize the timeframe for returning to work. If you skip appointments or delay treatment, that is going to push back your return-to-work date. You set the pace for your DOT SAP program.
How Soon Can I Return to Work after My SAP Program?
At the end of your SAP program, you will have to pass a follow-up drug test. The results of this test will be sent to your Designated Employer Representative (DER). Once your SAP and DER sign off on you returning to work, you can resume safety-sensitive job duties. Most employees are able to get back to work quickly because their employer needs the position filled. However, the status of your employment will be up to your employer, not your SAP.
How Long Will I Have to Complete Follow-up Drug Tests?
The Department of Transportation requires at least six follow-up drug tests in the first 12 months after a SAP program. You can continue working during this time, but you will be subject to drug testing for at least one year. This is in addition to any additional drug tests your employer may require, including post-accident drug testing and random drug testing.