SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROFESSIONAL (SAP)
What is a Substance Abuse Professional?
"Substance Abuse Professional" (SAP) is a regulated term under Title 49 Part 40 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT regulations define a SAP as "gatekeeper" for the return-to-work process mandated by the code. SAPs must meet specific requirements for professional qualifications, addictions experience, training and continuing education.
In Canada, however, the Substance Abuse Professional term is not regulated. Many Canadian counsellors and therapists offer their services as a SAP, however few meet the stringent requirements of the U.S. DOT regulations.
Our member of the SAP network meets or exceeds the requirements of the U.S. DOT regulations.
What does a SAP do?
The SAP plays a critical role in protecting public safety. A SAP provides professional assessment of employees who have tested positive in a drug/alcohol test or have otherwise caused their employer to have reason to refer them for an assessment for a Substance Use Disorder. These employees may or may not be engaged in safety-sensitive duties. SAPs are required to report assessment results to the company’s Designated Employee Representative or Program Administrator. SAPs must refer employees for either education or treatment as indicated by their assessment, track the employee’s progress through education or treatment, report back to the employer on the success of the employee in treatment or education, and make recommendations for relapse prevention.
What are the professional qualifications required to qualify as a SAP?
The only professional qualifications recognized as having competence in making Substance Use Disorder assessments are: Medical Doctors, certified or licensed Social Workers, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Employee Assistance Professionals, and those having an International Certification in Alcohol and Drug Counselling (ICADC).
In addition, SAPs are required to have clinical experience in addiction assessment and complete a two-day training program that meets the specifications of the U.S. DOT regulations. The training familiarizes professionals with their responsibilities to public safety, the elaborate protocols that have been established for ensuring that employees in safety sensitive and other positions are properly assessed, and that SAPs properly understand the unique difficulties and dangers addictions pose in work settings. Following completion of the course, SAPs must pass a rigorous examination before being permitted to provide assessments to safety sensitive employees.
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