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Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Training

A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is an individual that evaluates employees who have violated a US Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol regulation. An SAP makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing and aftercare.

In order to act as an SAP under DOT, an individual must have one of the following credentials:

  1. Licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy);
  2. Licensed or certified social worker;
  3. Licensed or certified psychologist;
  4. Licensed or certified employee assistance professional;
  5. State-licensed or certified marriage and family therapist; or
  6. A drug and alcohol counselor certified by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Certification Commission (NAADAC); or by the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (ICRC); or by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates/Master Addictions Counselor (NBCC).

An SAP must be knowledgeable about and have clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of alcohol and drug related disorders. In addition, an SAP must receive specific qualification training as outlined in 49CFR Part 40 which includes the program’s background, rationale, requirements and rules. Many organizations and associations in the drug and alcohol testing industry offer convenient and quality SAP training.

SAP Training Includes:
  • Key DOT drug testing requirements, including collections, laboratory testing, MRO review, and problems in drug testing
  • Review of the testing process and roles of personnel involved
  • SAP prohibitions
  • The detailed role of the SAP in the return-to-duty process, including the initial employee evaluation, referrals for education and/or treatment, the follow-up evaluation, continuing treatment recommendations, and the follow-up testing plan
  • Consultation and communication with employers, MROs, and treatment providers
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Issues that SAPs confront in carrying out their duties under the program.

Continuing Education Training is required of SAPs who have completed Qualification Training and who are performing SAP functions. Continuing Education Training is designed to update SAPs on changes and developments in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program. SAPs must complete 12 hours of continuing education every three years. The rules also state that the continuing education activities must include "documentable assessment tools" to assist you in determining whether you have adequately learned the material.