6.9 Tests for alcohol and other drugs

For certain applicants, routine periodic urinalysis (or other tests) for substance use is a requirement of continued medical certification. It is medico-legally essential that such testing be performed in accordance with the specified protocol, as determined by CASA for the individual applicant.

It is essential that the test substrate is appropriate to the substance(s) under investigation for example blood, urine or hair. Please seek advice from CASA.

One of the features of addiction related behaviour is denial. To promote recovery, openness and transparency is required involving the applicant, the regulator (CASA and DAME) and the operator. Delays in provision of required tests, adulteration of specimens and concealment of use all suggest stabilised abstinence has not been achieved. DAMES are encouraged to promote an open discussion between all parties about the proposed surveillance and the importance of compliance. CASA will usually seek the applicant's consent to share medical information openly between the applicant, company medical advisers, union and relevant medical specialists. This facilitates a faster return to work together with a greater opportunity for workplace support in recovery.

Relevant sources of advice and assistance include:

Note: DAMEs should view with concern any delays or other failure to comply with testing and surveillance requirements. CASA should be notified of such concerns as soon as practicable.

Published date: 25 November 2021
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//search-centre/manuals-and-handbooks/designated-aviation-medical-examiners-handbook/69-tests-alcohol-and-other-drugs
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