In late October, President Trump signed a new law attacking the nation’s rampant opioid abuse on a number of fronts, including nudging federal officials to move more quickly on hair testing.
The provision directs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to present a report to Congress about creating and issuing guidelines for hair testing.
The agency also must outline a schedule with benchmarks and estimated date for delivery for completed guidelines.
Proponents of hair testing, including American Trucking Associations, argue that it has advantages over other drug testing methods, including a longer detection window, easier collection and results that are harder to fake.
The bill also contains reporting requirements regarding the development of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, as well as a deadline for completing work on oral fluids testing. Currently, only urinalysis is recognized by the SAMHSA as a proven drug testing method.
“Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America,” Trump said at the bill signing. “We are going to end it or we are going to at least make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem.”
The law also provides support for research aimed at finding new drugs for pain management that won’t be addictive like opioids. Other provisions support actions that are aimed at stopping foreign shipments of illegal drugs to the United States.
More than 72,000 Americans died of drug-overdose deaths in 2017 – up nearly 7% from 2016, and opioids contributed to more than 49,000 of those deaths, the government reported.