It’s no secret that substance abuse issues cut across all professions. Department of Transportation (DOT) policy requires those who violate the drug and alcohol policy undergo an evaluation by a substance abuse professional. Those working in the world of a substance abuse professional (SAP) include doctors, therapists, social workers, and addiction counselors. All who fill this role must undergo training receive certification. Using SAPs is common in the transportation industry.
What Does a Substance Abuse Professional Do?
Substance abuse professionals perform face-to-face evaluations of workers and determine whether there is a substance abuse issue. They should not act on the behalf of either the government or the client. The main goal should be in protecting the interests of the public and their safety.
Once they complete their evaluation, a substance abuse professional works with the employee to create a plan they must follow in order to get sober and return to their job. The SAP makes recommendations around the best course of treatment, including detox and aftercare services.
Other potential treatment programs they could recommend include:
Substance abuse professionals also make recommendations about things that could help the worker, like education courses or area support groups. They continue tracking the client’s progress from the time they enter treatment until they’ve successfully completed all recommended programs. At that point, the substance abuse professional reevaluates the employee to confirm if they’re fit to return to their profession.
What Kind of Background Must a Substance Abuse Professional Have?
There are DOT regulations outlining the professional and academic background they look for in those seeking to qualify for an SAP role. Below are the credentials the DOT requires from applicants for an SAP role.
- A doctor with a license in medicine or osteopathy
- Licensed or certified psychologist
- A licensed or certified employee assistance professional
- Licensed or certified social worker
- A licensed or certified Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)
- A MAC alcohol and substance abuse counselor, certified through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)
- An alcohol and drug abuse counselor certified through the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) or the NAADAC Certification Commission
Other requirements include having clinical experience treating individuals diagnosed with substance abuse disorders. They should also have a solid understanding of the vital role a substance abuse professional play in ensuring the safety of travel by the general public.
What Knowledge Must a Substance Abuse Professional Have?
Those applying for a position as an SAP should have in-depth knowledge of:
- The requirements outlined under DOT 49 CFR Part 40 Section 281(c)
- General SAP Guidelines
- Any changes to current guidelines
It’s essential that a substance abuse professional maintain and continually update their knowledge of pertinent DOT regulations. They assist an employer in deciding when an employee should return to work. That’s especially important for sensitive safety positions.
A review should be based on a thorough clinical and professional assessment of an individual. They should conduct follow-up evaluations to confirm that employees are making satisfactory progress in their treatment. SAPs may recommend changes when they feel it would be beneficial to an employee’s progress.
Finding the Right Facility for Treatment
There’s no reason for anyone to be alone during the recovery process. Oceanfront Recovery makes sure each of our clients receive the kind of care and treatment most beneficial to their healing. You’ll get the opportunity to interact with others with similar experiences. It’s also a good place to form bonds that last once you’ve completed your program.
It’s always a good idea to heed the advice of SEP professionals who help chart your treatment court. For more information about our services, call Oceanfront Recovery at 877.296.7477.