The Department of Transportation is one of North Carolina’s biggest government agencies, employing thousands of North Carolinians and monitoring about 80,000 miles of roadways. If you’re reading this, chances are that you are a DOT employee who has found themselves in a tight spot.
Throughout the year, DOT workers are tested for both drugs and alcohol. Those who operate vehicles, trucks, and other large transportation machinery are under the most scrutiny because their jobs involve the biggest risk.
Failing your DOT drug or alcohol test means that you’ll have to get a SAP evaluation. This is the first step in returning to work.
Read on to learn more about what you can expect from your Fayetteville SAP evaluation.
Why Do I Need a SAP Evaluation?
As we mentioned earlier, a SAP evaluation is required after failing a DOT drug or alcohol test. These tests detect substances like marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, and certain prescription drugs. They also detect if your alcohol blood level is greater than 0.02%.
If you fail your DOT test while operating a DOT vehicle, you will be immediately asked to exit the vehicle and leave. From that point on, it is your responsibility to receive a SAP evaluation as part of your return to work process. Failing to do so will prevent you from resuming your normal work duties and, in some cases, lead to termination.
What Is a SAP?
“SAP” stands for “substance abuse professional.” In order to qualify as a SAP, this person must be a licensed therapist, physician, social worker, or psychologist. After failing a DOT drug or alcohol test, it is your job to find a SAP evaluator near you.
Coverage of you SAP evaluation cost is not up to your SAP but instead between you and your employer. Some DOT employers will cover this cost but it’s not uncommon for employees to have to pay for their SAP evaluation on their own.
Now that you know what a SAP is and why you need to receive a SAP evaluation, let’s take a look at what you can expect from this process in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Step 1: The Initial Face-to-Face SAP Evaluation
Your initial SAP evaluation is broken up into two components that you will complete upon arriving at your local SAP center.
The first part of your SAP evaluation requires that you fill out a questionnaire. This questionnaire covers topics like family medical and substance abuse history, personal substance abuse history, and other relevant topics.
The second part of your SAP evaluation is conducted in the form of an interview. Your SAP will go over your questionnaire with you and ask additional questions to give them a better sense of your situation.
From here, your SAP will help you to come up with a plan of recovery that involves both education and counseling. In creating this plan, your SAP will take into account any financial or time constraints you may have. The goal is to create a plan that is achievable and effective for each individual client.
Step 2: Following the SAP Plan
After this first stage of your SAP is complete, it’s time to follow through. It is your responsibility to meet each requirement of your SAP plan before your follow up evaluation.
This plan will vary based on the severity of the situation and the nature of your responsibilities as a DOT employee. Some employees may have to go through rehabilitative programs that involve medical detoxing. Others may simply have to meet a certain number of times with a drug or alcohol counselor.
In addition, your SAP will likely assign you a certain number of hours of drug or alcohol education. The purpose of this is to refresh your knowledge of the dangers of operating a vehicle while under the influence and provide you with healthier and safer coping mechanisms.
Step 3: The Follow Up SAP Evaluation
Once you feel that you have completed your SAP plan, it is time to return to your SAP center. During your follow up SAP evaluation, you will need to provide evidence that you have completed the necessary tasks as outlined by your SAP plan. Signed documents from instructors and counselors may be required.
If your SAP determines that you have followed the plan properly, they will begin a series of paperwork that will give you access to your work once more. Note that this will also include any follow-up requirements your employer must be aware of.
If your SAP determines that the plan was not a success, you will start at Step 1 again. That means that you will go through another evaluation, establish another plan, and have to follow through without before arriving back at Step 3.
Step 4: Returning to Work and What to Expect
Once you return to work after completing your SAP requirements, you will still need to be mindful of your workplace behavior. Your SAP may require continued treatment even after you have resumed some of your normal duties. In addition, you are subject to a minimum of 6 random DOT drug or alcohol tests over the next year.
The number of DOT tests you are required to take will vary depending on your SAP’s report. In some cases, DOT employees are required to take more than 6 random DOT tests over the course of a year. In others, they are required to take an increased number of random DOT tests for several years to come.
Where to Find a DOT SAP Evaluation Near Me
If you have failed a DOT drug or alcohol test, you will need to receive a SAP evaluation before returning to safety-sensitive duties. This is for your own good as well as any passengers or fellow vehicle operators in the road.
The first step is finding a SAP center near you. Contact the Diversion Center located in Fayetteville to start your Fayetteville SAP evaluation right away.