Episode 9: Drug and alcohol testing and flying into Karumba Aerodrome

Drug and alcohol testing by CASA officers can happen anywhere within an aerodrome testing area.

Other than passengers, anyone performing or available to perform safety sensitive aviation activities (SSAAs) is subject to testing.

Testing for drugs and alcohol

CASA rules are quite clear:

'Refusing or failing to give a body sample may constitute a prosecutable offence. Further, anyone failing or refusing to give a body sample must stop performing or being available to perform an applicable SSAA. Failure to do so may result in a criminal charge.'

Alcohol testing requires a breath sample and drug testing requires oral fluid samples.

CASA officer conducting alcohol breath test
CASA officer conducting alcohol breath test

There are some common over-the-counter drugs that appear on the banned substance list.

CASA tests:

  • alcohol
  • opiates
  • cannabis
  • amphetamine-type stimulants
  • cocaine.

As a pilot, it's your responsibility to avoid these substances or you could face the consequences of a failed drug test.

Always be wary of what over-the-counter medications you may be taking. Popular over-the-counter medications can contain levels of these substances that will trigger a positive drug test result. This can include some pain relievers and antihistamines.

CASA officers can't provide advice on what medications you can or cannot take or advice on quantities.

Medicines and combinations of different medicines affect individuals in different ways.

Speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) for more information about your medicines.

Published date: 17 October 2022
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//resources-and-education/education-and-training/out-n-back/episode-9-drug-and-alcohol-testing-and-flying-karumba-aerodrome
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