SAP FAQ

What is a SAP?

A SAP is a Substance Abuse Professional that has specific credentials and meets qualification-training requirements including continuing education activities.

What does a SAP do?

  • Conduct a face-to-face initial employee evaluation and clinical assessment to determine the level of assistance needed to resolve the alcohol and/or drug associated problems.
  • Recommend and refer the employee to an appropriate education and/or treatment program.
  • Monitor the employee’s progress in the education and/or treatment process through contact with the respective provider(s).
  • Conduct a face-to-face follow-up evaluation to determine if the employee has fully and successfully complied with the initial evaluation and recommended course of education and/or treatment.
  • Provide the Designated Employer Representative (DER) a follow-up evaluation with a drug and/or alcohol-testing plan for the employee for up to five years.
  • Provide the employer and employee with recommendations for continuing education and/or treatment.

What should I consider when Searching for a SAP?

Entering into the SAP process is a serious and lengthy commitment on your part.  But, if you wish to remain in a safety-sensitive job within any DOT regulated position, it is a necessary one.  It is therefore important to remember:

  • Your choice of a SAP is final.  Once you start the return-to-duty process with a SAP there is no turning back!  You cannot get a second opinion or re-start the process with another SAP.
  • A SAP’s decision is final which means you/your employer must accept their treatment and/or education recommendation.  If your health insurance or employer does not cover the recommended plan and you can’t pay out-of-pocket then your only option is to seek employment outside the transportation industry.
  • The time that has passed since your DOT violation, changes in your life, prior treatment, or ‘unique’ reasons why you tested positive, will not modify the SAP process.
  • No matter how remote your residence is, or the distance to the SAP’s office, the return-to-duty process cannot be reduced, an alternate counseling program cannot be used, and evaluations can never be done by telephone.

What can I expect during my SAP treatment?

The SAP’s education and/or treatment program will be dependent on your specific needs, which includes the severity of your drug or alcohol problem, your willingness to change this pattern, and your motivation to return to work.
The level of care and subsequent amount of time needed to resolve your problem will be dependent upon your evaluation and, at a minimum, the SAP’s recommendation must include one or more of the following:

  • Education – May include, but is not limited to self-help groups (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous) and community lectures (e.g. one-day drug and alcohol education class).
  • Treatment – May include, but is not limited to inpatient hospitalization, partial inpatient treatment, out-patient counseling programs and aftercare.

Can Any Drug & Alcohol Counselor Evaluate Me?

No.  Only a DOT SAP may evaluate you in order to meet Federal regulations and requirements.  If a non-qualified counselor evaluates you then your return to work will be delayed.

Must I see a SAP if I Take a Non-DOT Job?

No.  You do not need to go through the SAP process if you seek work from a non-DOT employer.  But, if you decide to return to a safety-sensitive position in the transportation industry you must keep in mind that future potential DOT employers must obtain your drug and alcohol testing records from your previous employers from the previous two years.  If you have not successfully completed the SAP process, the potential employer cannot hire you until you do so.

Will My Employer Take Me Back if I Complete the SAP Process? How soon can I return to work?

Your employer is not required to rehire you because you have met the required conditions.  This decision actually depends on your employer’s written policy or other requirements.