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New Regulations

 


NOTICE TO DOT CARRIERS AND COLLECTORS

the new Federal CCF IS required.

It is strongly encouraged that employers and C/TPAs verify with their collection sites or that they have the new Custody and Control Forms use the 2000 CCF.


Addendum to company substance of abuse policy

Updated drugs to be tested and levels to be tested at:

Effective immediately the company has amended Testing Procedures - Drug Testing Procedures section as follows.

Testing Procedures - Drug Testing Procedures

The testing program required by Federal regulations is limited to specific drugs as listed in the following table.*NG/ML means nanograms per milliliter.  A nanogram is one billionth of a gram.  A milliliter is one thousandth of a liter.


Florida’s Drug Monitoring Database Open to Doctors and Pharmacists

Doctors and pharmacists can begin using Florida’s new drug monitoring database . The database is designed to reduce prescription drug abuse by preventing people from “doctor shopping” for painkillers. Health care professionals who use the system will receive reports on patient prescription histories, which will help them detect possible patterns of drug abuse. Using the database is not mandatory for doctors and pharmacists. Pharmacies must report information to the database within a week of dispensing drugs including oxycodone, the newspaper reports. Pharmacies and doctors already have entered more than 15 million prescriptions into the system. The Florida Medical Association and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association are encouraging their members to use the database, the article notes. Tad Fisher, Executive Vice President of the Florida Academy of Family Physi cians, said it is useful in cases when doctors don’t know a patient. The database was approved by Florida legislators in 2009, but Governor Rick Scott said he opposed it because of privacy concerns. In June, he signed into law a bill that authorized the drug monitoring database. It also imposes new penalties for physicians who overprescribe medication and stricter rules for operating pharmacies. Federal authorities estimate that 85 percent of oxycodone is sold in Florida. Many of the sales are to people who come from out of state and then resell the pills illegally.

$1.5 million in pot hidden among watermelon in Mexican truck

Federal customs agents uncovered $1.5 million worth of marijuana hidden among a load of watermelons that was heading into the U.S. from Mexico. On Monday, Nov. 7, Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa port of entry noticed an anomaly during an X-ray inspection of a truck at the border crossing, according to a CBP news release. On closer inspection, agents found 128 bundles of marijuana. Agents found nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana bundled among fresh watermelons.

The 44-year-old Mexican driver was arrested and put into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security investigations, the news release stated. The truck and trailer were seized.

A Maryland-based trucking company has been shut down following a two-year investigation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The FMCSA says Gunthers Transport was “an imminent hazard to public safety” because drivers were allegedly allowed to falsify logbooks and were not required to do pre-trip inspections. According to the FMCSA, the company’s trucks were in such poor condition that they were likely to break down and posed a high crash risk. Over the past year, Gunthers trucks were involved in seven crashes that led to one death and four injuries.

The feds aren’t the only ones who find the company an imminent hazard. Mark David Gunther is no stranger to the Department of Transportation’s motor carrier safety agency. In December of 1995, Gunthers Leasing Transport made big trucking news when the company and Gunther were charged with causing and allowing drivers to drive in excess of the time limits and falsify logs.

It was the first case in the country to apply federal criminal felony false statement laws to the drivers’ logs and records. Gunther was found guilty of seven out of eight counts, including perjury and conspiracy to defraud. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, and the company was fined $170,000.


States Implement Stricter Regulations on Doctors Who Prescribe Opioids

A growing number of states are implementing stricter regulations on doctors who prescribe opioids, in an effort to cut down on prescription drug abuse. This summer, Washington state began to require that osteopathic physicians and non-physician prescribers of opioids provide written treatment plans, or “patient contracts,” that call for mandatory, periodic drug testing. The rules, which will cover all doctors beginning in January, include instructions on how to evaluate and care for patients with chronic pain not related to cancer. Under the new rules, primary care doctors must consult with board-certified pain specialists before they prescribe daily morphine-equivalent doses of 120 milligrams or higher. In Ohio, doctors who work at pain clinics must complet e 20 hours of pain medicine continuing medical education (CME) every two years, according to American Medical News. Doctors who own pain clinics must register with the state medical board, undergo random site inspections and comply with patient-tracking requirements. In Florida and six other states, doctors cannot receive their medical license until they complete CME courses on pain management or prescribing controlled substances. The article notes 36 states have prescription-monitoring programs, and another 12 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation that authorizes the programs.

Some California Medical Marijuana Shops Are Closing

Some medical marijuana shops in central California have closed down following a letter from federal prosecutors threatening their landlords with legal action. The Associated Press reports many of the 38 clinics in central California, from Santa Barbara to San Bernadino counties, have closed because landlords were given two weeks to evict them. Four U.S. attorneys said they would prosecute landlords who rent space to operators of medical marijuana dispensaries. The landlords were threatened with criminal charges or seizure of their assets. In July, the U.S. Justice Department announced that medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers located in states with medical marijuana laws are not immune from prosecution for violation of federal drug and money-laundering laws.

DOT Marks 20th Anniversary of Transportation Drug Testing Law

The U.S. Department of Transportation today marked the 20th anniversary of the statutory authority to conduct drug and alcohol testing for workers entrusted with the safe operation of our nation’s transportation system.  The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, signed into law on Oct. 28, 1991, was enacted to reduce the abuse of alcohol and illegal use of drugs by employees such as pilots, airline mechanics, railroad engineers, truck drivers, bus drivers and subway operators.  Since the law was implemented, illegal drug use among transportation workers has dropped 50 percent, while the risk of fatal accidents caused by alcohol use by truck and bus drivers has dropped 23 percent.

Jim L. Swart

Director

Office of Drug and Alcohol

Policy and Compliance

U.S. Department of Transportation

Government Continues Delay on Decision About Hydrocodone

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to delay making a decision about whether to reclassify drugs containing the opioid hydrocodone, to make them more strictly regulated.  The government has been considering the move for 12 years.

The government agencies are considering whether to move hydrocodone from Schedule III to Schedule II, a move that would put the drug in the same category as oxycodone and morphine. The news report suggests some believe part of the reason for the slow response might be the FDA’s close ties to pain advocacy groups. The FDA says it wants to consider unintended consequences of rescheduling the drug, such as making it more difficult for patients to obtain pain medication.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine sent a letter to the FDA in September urging the agency to change hydrocodone to a Schedule II drug. The article notes the group has not yet received a response. According to the DEA, hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opiate in the United States, with more than 139 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing products dispensed in 2010 and more than 36 million in the first quarter of 2011. A review of police drug labs finds seizures of pills containing hydrocodone are second only to those of oxycodone. Last year, almost 45,000 pills containing hydrocodone were seized in the U.S. Schedule II drugs must be locked up at pharmacies. Physicians can only prescribe one bottle at a time and patients must have an origina l prescription in order to obtain the medication. Schedule III drugs can be refilled up to six times without visiting a doctor, who can phone or fax in a prescription to the pharmacy.

DMVs to begin verifying medical certification in 2012

The days of truckers telling state licensing agencies that their medical certifications are current are just about over because of a new regulation going into effect in January. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a final rule in 2008 that changes the way states must verify the medical certification for truckers either renewing or applying for a CDL. Phased-in compliance deadlines for states, motor carriers and truckers start kicking in on Jan. 30, 2012.

Some states such as Illinois are already sending letters out to CDL holders alerting them of the change. Once everything is up and running on the state level, truckers will be required to present either the original or a copy of the current medical examiner’s certificate. The state agency must then date stamp the certification card and return it to the trucker.

The date-stamped card will be sufficient to prove medical certification for 15 days. Within 10 days of stamping the card, the state licensing agency must enter the information into the Commercial Drivers License Information System, according to the new requirement. States will be required to keep a copy of the stamped card for three years from the date the CDL is issued. Once the information is entered in the CDLIS system, truckers won’t be required to present the valid medical card for inspections or employment. Instead, inspectors will have access to the electronic information. Motor carriers won’t even be able to use the medical card anymore to prove a driver’s fitness. Starting Jan. 30, 2012, the motor carriers must keep a copy of the current CDLIS motor vehicle record documenting medical certification status in the driver’s qualification file before allowing the driver behind the wheel.

Truckers will have to stay on top of their medical certification because of the new requirement. If the certification expires before the CDL, states will be required to update the driver’s CDLIS file to reflect the driver as “not certified.” The driver’s CDL will be downgraded after 60 days of the expiration of the medical certification. While the new final rule issued by the agency does not require use of the “long form” in obtaining or renewing CDLs or for proof of fitness to motor carriers, the new reg doesn’t prohibit it either.

Between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores will be closed.

the retailer said Tuesday, after terrible holiday sales during what is the most crucial time of the year for retailers.

Sears has yet to determine which stores will be closed, but there has been a clear shift in where the retailer will devote its resources. Sears would not discuss how many, if any, jobs would be cut. Sears Holdings Corp., based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., said that the store closings will generate $140 to $170 million in cash from inventory sales. The retailer anticipates additional proceeds from the sale or sublease of real estate holdings. The company, which operates Kmart stores, Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Land’s End, has seen rival department stores like Macy’s Inc. and discounters like Target Corp. steal customers away. But the economy is put a sustained financial squeeze on its most loyal customers, those in the middle-income bracket. The retailer had announced numerous closings this year, but this is the largest group of closings to date by far. Hoped for holiday sales to not materialize. Same-store revenue fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said Tuesday. That includes the critical holiday shopping period, a time that most retailers depend on for a sales surge that will put them in the black. Kmart’s 6 percent decline in revenue at stores open at least a year was blamed on diminished layaways and a drop in clothing and consumer electronics sales. Sears’ cited lackluster consumer electronics and home appliance sales for its 4.4 percent drop off. Sears’ clothing sales were flat, while sales of Lands’ End products at Sears stores rose mid-single digits. Sears Holdings said that the declining sales, ongoing margin pressure and rising expenses pulled its adjusted earnings lower. The company predicts fourth-quarter consolidated adjusted earnings will be less than half the prior-year period’s $933 million. It also anticipates a non-cash charge of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in the quarter for a valuation allowance on some deferred tax assets. This figure is a key gauge of a retailer’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed. Sears Holdings said it also plans to lower its fixed costs by $100 million to $200 million and trim its 2012 peak domestic inventory by $300 million from 2011’s $10.2 billion at the third quarter’s end. Sears Holdings has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

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