§ 26.187 Substance abuse expert.

(a) Implementation. Any SAEs on whom licensees and other entities rely to make determinations of fitness under this part shall meet the requirements of this section. An MRO who meets the requirements of this section may serve as both an MRO and as an SAE.

(b) Credentials. An SAE shall have at least one of the following credentials:

(1) A licensed physician;

(2) A licensed or certified social worker;

(3) A licensed or certified psychologist;

(4) A licensed or certified employee assistance professional; or

(5) An alcohol and drug abuse counselor certified by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Certification Commission or by the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse.

(c) Basic knowledge. An SAE shall be knowledgeable in the following areas:

(1) Demonstrated knowledge of and clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of alcohol and controlled-substance abuse disorders;

(2) Knowledge of the SAE function as it relates to the public's interests in the duties performed by the individuals who are subject to this subpart; and

(3) Knowledge of this part and any changes thereto.

(d) Qualification training. SAEs shall receive qualification training on the following subjects:

(1) Background, rationale, and scope of this part;

(2) Key drug testing requirements of this part, including specimen collection, laboratory testing, MRO review, and problems in drug testing;

(3) Key alcohol testing requirements of this part, including specimen collection, the testing process, and problems in alcohol tests;

(4) SAE qualifications and prohibitions;

(5) The role of the SAE in making determinations of fitness and the return-to-duty process, including the initial evaluation, referrals for education and/or treatment, the followup evaluation, continuing treatment recommendations, and the followup testing plan;

(6) Procedures for SAE consultation and communication with licensees or other entities, MROs, and treatment providers;

(7) Reporting and recordkeeping requirements of this part; and

(8) Issues that SAEs confront in carrying out their duties under this part.

(e) Continuing education. During each 3-year period following completion of initial qualification training, the SAE shall complete continuing education consisting of at least 12 continuing professional education hours relevant to performing SAE functions.

(1) This continuing education must include material concerning new technologies, interpretations, recent guidance, rule changes, and other information about developments in SAE practice pertaining to this part, since the time the SAE met the qualification training requirements of this section.

(2) Continuing education activities must include documented assessment tools to assist in determining that the SAE has learned the material.

(f) Documentation. The SAE shall maintain documentation showing that he or she currently meets all requirements of this section. The SAE shall provide this documentation on request to NRC representatives, licensees, or other entities who are relying on or contemplating relying on the SAE's services, and to other individuals and entities, as required by ยง 26.37.

(g) Responsibilities and prohibitions. The SAE shall evaluate individuals who have violated the substance abuse provisions of an FFD policy and make recommendations concerning education, treatment, return to duty, followup drug and alcohol testing, and aftercare. The SAE is not an advocate for the licensee or other entity, or the individual. The SAE's function is to protect public health and safety and the common defense and security by professionally evaluating the individual and recommending appropriate education/treatment, follow-up tests, and aftercare.

(1) The SAE is authorized to make determinations of fitness in at least the following three circumstances:

(i) When potentially disqualifying FFD information has been identified regarding an individual who has applied for authorization under this part;

(ii) When an individual has violated the substance abuse provisions of a licensee's or other entity's FFD policy; and

(iii) When an individual may be impaired by alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medications, or illegal drugs.

(2) After determining the best recommendation for assisting the individual, the SAE shall serve as a referral source to assist the individual's entry into an education and/or treatment program.

(i) To prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest, the SAE may not refer an individual requiring assistance to his or her private practice or to a person or organization from whom the SAE receives payment or in which the SAE has a financial interest. The SAE is precluded from making referrals to entities with whom the SAE is financially associated.

(ii) There are four exceptions to the prohibitions contained in the preceding paragraph. The SAE may refer an individual to any of the following providers of assistance, regardless of his or her relationship with them:

(A) A public agency e.g., treatment facility) operated by a state, county, or municipality;

(B) A person or organization under contract to the licensee or other entity to provide alcohol or drug treatment and/or education services (e.g., the licensee's or other entity's contracted treatment provider);

(C) The sole source of therapeutically appropriate treatment under the individual's health insurance program (e.g., the single substance abuse in-patient treatment program made available by the individual's insurance coverage plan); or

(D) The sole source of therapeutically appropriate treatment reasonably available to the individual (e.g., the only treatment facility or education program reasonably located within the general commuting area).

[73 FR 17222 Mar. 31, 2008; 83 FR 58464, Dec. 12, 2018]

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, December 20, 2018