SAPs or Substance Abuse Professionals play a critical role in the workplace testing program by professionally evaluating employees who have violated DOT drug & alcohol rules. SAPs recommend appropriate education treatment, follow-up tests and aftercare. SAPS determine when a safety-sensitive employee can returned to duty.
SAPs are required to have:
- Specific backgrounds and credentials
- Clinical experience in diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse-related disorders
- Complete qualification training and fulfilled obligations for continuing education courses
SAPs make recommendations to the employer. SAPs are not advocates for the employee or the employer. They make return-to-duty recommendations according to their professional and ethical standards and DOT’s regulations. An employer is under no obligation to return you to work.
Under the regulations, hiring and reinstatement decisions are left to the employer based on the SAPs recommendation. Under FAA regulations, SAPs cannot return a pilot to duty without the prior approval of the FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon. If you violate a DOT drug or alcohol rule, your employer is required to provide you with a contact list of available, acceptable SAPs. This requirement stands even if your employer terminates your employment.