California Nursing Board Alcohol/Drug Violations

When there is a pre-licensure substance abuse violation the Board’s position is that it needs to act to protect the public from a potentially impaired nurse. The action begins at the point the individual files the application to obtain a Registered Nurse License. The Board denies the application due to the history of substance abuse issues. The Attorney General’s office is alerted to the fact that the applicant has violations and files a legal document titled “Statement of Issues”. This document recites the violations that led to the denial. The next step in the process is a hearing but typically the applicant enters a stipulated settlement negotiated with the attorney general’s office. The settlement agreement states the following, “Upon successful completion of the licensure examination and all other licensing requirements, a license shall be issued to the individual. Said license shall immediately be revoked, the order of revocation stayed, and the individual shall be placed on probation for a period of three (3) years.”

Railroad Testing Rules MOW

Maintenance of Way (MOW) Drug Testing Rules


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is going to require subcontractors who perform Maintenance of Way (MOW) functions to comply with the U S Department of Transportation (DOT) Drug and Alcohol Rules. The date the compliance will begin is June 12, 2017.


The DOT rules will require MOW employees to be tested at a random rate of 50% for drugs 25% for alcohol. Pre-employment testing will be required for any new employees after June 12, 2017 and current employees will not be required to take a pre-employment test.


MOW sub-contractors will need to become aware of the U. S. DOT rules governing alcohol and drug testing. The following are situations that require testing: (1) pre-employment, (2) random testing necessary to comply with prescribed rates, (3) reasonable suspicion testing, (4) post-accident testing, (5) random follow-up testing.


Each employer will need to have a designated employee representative (DER). This individual will maintain the records of employee testing, violations and substance abuse evaluations. This function can be carried out by a third-party administrator (TPA). Employees who fail the drug and alcohol testing must be referred to a substance abuse professional (SAP). The SAP will conduct an evaluation and determine when the employee can return to safety sensitive duty and what follow-up testing will be required.


There is considerable confusion about these new alcohol and drug testing rules. The best way to get clarification is to contact a substance abuse professional who can advise you on the proper procedures.

The U.S. Department of Transportation does conduct field audits and will levy fines in instances where they find non-compliance.

How long does my empoyer retain a record of my alcohol and drug violations ?

It depends on which governing body your employer is covered by. The following is a list of the time frames: FMCSA 3 yrs., PHMSA 2 yrs., USCG 2 yrs., FAA 5yrs. for pilots and 2 yrs. for others, FRA 2 yrs. and FTA 2 yrs. For companies not covered by federal regulations the time frame can be much longer. I have seen numerous situations where violations of previous companies drug and alcohol policies have shown up for ten previous years. It is advisiable to address any violation and get a substance abuse evaluation.

What is a drug and alcohol testing consortium ?

A consortium is an association of independent businesses that group together for a common purpose. In this case, the purpose is to provide a random drug and alcohol testing structure. The consortium serves a third party administrator for its members acting as a mediator between the employer and the government entity.