The Coast Guard has set the 2020 minimum random drug testing rate at 50% of covered crewmembers because positive results crossed the 1% threshold for the second straight year. This contrasts with a recent six-year stretch in which the rate held at 25%.
Employers must submit test data for each calendar year by mid-March of the following year. Since 2018, mariners in safety-sensitive positions have been tested for semi-synthetic opioids in addition to marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates such as heroin.
The Coast Guard in a Federal Register notice in late December said the positive rate for the most recent reporting year “continues to be greater than one percent,” but did not give a precise number. The step-up in testing is triggered by law and took effect on Jan. 1, 2020.