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Substance Abuse Professional

(FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions

Willroth Consulting offers a wide array of services! We are a consulting agency qualified to evaluate employees who have violated a Department of Transportation DOT alcohol and drug regulation and assist with education, treatment, follow up care and continuing care.

What is the fundamental responsibility of the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)?

The fundamental responsibility of the SAP is to provide a comprehensive face-to-face assessment and clinical evaluation to determine what level of care the employee needs in resolving issues associated with his/her substance use. After the assessment, the SAP must recommend at a minimum, a course of education and/or treatment in which the employee must comply with prior to returning to DOT safety sensitive position.  SAP (s) serves as a “gatekeeper” to the return-to-duty process.


What is a Substance Abuse Professional’s responsibility to the public?

A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is not an advocate for the employer or employee. A SAP’s primary function is to protect the public interest in safety by professionally evaluating the employee and recommending appropriate education and/or treatment, follow-up tests, and continuing care.


May an employer or employee seek a second SAP evaluation if they disagree with the first SAP’s recommendations?


As an employer, you must not seek a second a second SAP’s evaluation if the employee has already been evaluated by a qualified SAP. If the employee has obtained a second SAP evaluation, as an employer you may not rely on it for any reason. If the employee accepts a second SAP’s recommendations, YOU as the employer would be subject to fines by DOT, as well as the employee.

As an employee with a DOT drug and alcohol regulation violation, when you have been evaluated by a SAP, you must not seek a second SAP’s evaluation in order to obtain another recommendation. If your employer accepts a second SAP’s recommendations, your employer would be subject to DOT fines, as well as YOU- -the employee.


I have a workplace violation, do I have to go through a SAP?

Yes! When a person has a DOT workplace violation, the only person who can perform the required evaluation is a SAP. The Department of Transportation requires that an employee with a DOT violation MUST BE EVALUATED BY A QUALIFIED SAP.

What if I enter treatment on my own?

This will not permit you (the employee) to return to safety-sensitive duties. DOT regulations required that you go to a qualified SAP for an evaluations, follow the SAP recommendations, and have a follow-up evaluation with the SAP prior to being considered for readmission into safety-sensitive functions in the DOT industry.

What happens if I terminate my current employment and apply with another employer?

The new DOT employer is required to obtain your drug/alcohol testing records from your previous employers for the previous 2 years. Your previous employer is required to report this violation.

If there is no SAP report documenting compliance, no employer is permitted to hire you for DOT safety-sensitive functions until you have completed the return-to-duty process successfully. At minimal, the previous employer’s records must include the initial evaluation by a qualified SAP and the follow up evaluation documenting your compliance with the SAP’s recommendations. 

What if I decide to work for a non DOT employer, do I have to complete the SAP evaluation?

No. If you choose to work for a non DOT employer, you do not have to complete the SAP process.


What if forget to list my previous employers in an application form?

The Department of Transportation will hold you accountable under civil penalties and fines when it is discovered that you have provided safety-sensitive functions without completing the return-to duty process successfully.  Falsification is a serious offense!


Who is responsible for the cost of an employee’s SAP services?

Most employers require the employee to pay for SAP services, as an out of pocket expense.  Some employers have arranged for SAP services to be covered by an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). There are other employers that may pay the cost of SAP services on behalf of their employees. Before the SAP process takes place, the decision needs to be made between the employer and employee. 


Will my insurance cover the cost of SAP services?

It is not traditional that your medical insurance will cover the cost of SAP services. Having an unfavorable alcohol or drug test does not qualify as a “medical necessity.”  Willroth Consulting does not accept insurance of any kind.

What is a Substance Abuse Professional, or S.A.P.?

A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and continuing care.


What is a Safety Sensitive Position?

Any commercial transportation related function, including but not limited to, moving or controlling a commercial vehicle and/or vessel; mechanical maintenance of vehicles and/or vessels; transporting hazardous materials or containers; maintaining the location of hazardous materials; and armed security.


What are the 6 of the separate operating administrations covered under the Department of Transportation (DOT)?

  • FAA: Federal Aviation Administration

  • FMCSA: Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration 

  • FRA: Federal Railroad Administration

  • PHMSA: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

  • USCG: United States Coast Guard

  • FTA: Federal Transit Administration


What is a Service Agent?

A Service Agent is defined as any person or entity, other than an employee, who provides services specified under 49 C.F.R. 40 to employers and/or employees in connection with DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements. This includes, but not limited to the following:

  • Collectors

  • Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT)

  • Screening Test Technicians (STT)

  • Laboratories

  • Medical Review Officers (MRO)

  • Consortium/Third Party Administrators (C/TPA)

  • Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP)

What forms of payment are acceptable at Willroth Consulting?

Cashier’s Check and Money Order are the methods of payment. The full fee for SAP services must be paid upon arrival at the initial evaluation appointment. We do not accept payment arrangements or partial payments. 

How much will this cost?

The fees for Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs) services varies, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) does not dictate or determine the cost of this service. For information regarding SAP fees, it is recommended to contact the SAP directly. In certain instances, your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may cover SAP fees. However, in most cases, these fees are typically an out-of-pocket expense for you as the safety-sensitive employee. It's important to note that as SAP services are not classified as a medical necessity, therefore, health insurance typically does not cover SAP evaluations or follow-up appointments.  

What if I cannot afford the recommendation plan of the Substance Abuse Professional?

Compliance with the recommendation is imperative. It is essential to explore avenues for funding or consider pursuing alternative employment outside the transportation industry. It is crucial to note that the Department of Transportation (DOT) deems the Substance Abuse Professional's (SAP) recommendation as conclusive and unalterable. If you are unable to comply with the recommendation, you will not be able to return to safety-sensitive duties.


How long will this process take?

It depends on the treatment recommendations the SAP makes, but it will also depend on your progress in complying with the recommended education and/or treatment. The SAP will monitor your progress by regularly checking in with your treatment provider. When the SAP feels you made sufficient progress, you will be contacted to schedule a Follow-Up Evaluation. If you are making minimal to no progress, the SAP will not schedule the Follow-Up Evaluation. On average, the SAP process takes between a few weeks to a few months. 

Tell me more about the process?


When your SAP conducts a follow-up evaluation and determines that you have complied with the recommendations, your SAP will send a report of compliance to your employer. Your employer then can decide whether to arrange for you to take a return-to-duty test. Depending on your employer’s written policy, your employer may also decide to terminate you, either before or after the return-to-duty test. Remember that in your employer’s eyes, you may still be a safety risk). If your employer decides to take you back, and if you have a negative return-to-duty test, you will be subject to follow-up testing as required by your SAP. There must be at least 6 unannounced follow-up tests in the first year, but the SAP can require any number of tests, and the testing period can extend to five years.

What does the follow-up testing consists of?

The DOT requires the following up testing scheduled must be kept confidential. The SAP nor the employer is permitted to divulge the testing schedule with the client/employee.


Is the employer or employee responsible for the cost of follow-up testing?

Some employers pay for the cost of follow-up testing, then there are some that will share the cost of the tests with the employee. Many employers require the employee to pay for all follow-up testing.


What happens if I tested unfavorable on a follow-up test?

If you provide another unfavorable test, you must undergo the entire SAP process again. Most employers terminate an employee for a second violation.  If you are terminated, and if you want to apply for a safety-sensitive job with another DOT employer, you must first complete the SAP return-to-duty process.

How do I find a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) who is qualified to act in the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol testing program?


As an employer, you must provide employees with a list of SAPs qualified under §40.281. The regulation [§40.287] requires the employer to provide the employee with a list of qualified SAPs. Your failure to provide such a list could result in sanctions issued by the DOT Modal Administration with jurisdiction over you.

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