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Post by vajmd » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:59 pm

The Medical Review Board personnel at FMCSA told me that methadone currently is no longer a prohibited drug in the regulations, and therefore, by law, disqualifying, as stated on their website. I am told they are in the process of updating this information but it is unknown how long that might take. Instead, any disqualification of a driver now due to use of methadone is a recommendation/guidance.

Have you heard anything about this change in FMCSA's position on methadone, and if so, when the change might be officially made in their regulations?

Robert Swotinsky MD
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Re: Methadone

Post by Robert Swotinsky MD » Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:21 am

If there is going to be a regulatory change, it will have to go through the usual regulatory process, which includes drafting the change and circulating it among federal administrators/decisionmakers, issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, addressing public comments, and then a Final Rule. The process takes years. In many cases, the process is not completed. Anyone potentially taking methadone and seeking qualification to operate a CMV should make other plans, rather than expect a regulatory change in the foreseeable future.

This change would be consistent with the change in how methadone is now used (as opposed to decades ago when the rule was written). It would also be consistent with a general trend toward individualized decisionmaking as opposed to specific criteria.

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