Let Former Opioid Users Keep On Trucking


    You’ve heard about supply-chain disruptions causing shortages and inflation, but here’s a surprising contributor: misguided drug policy. The U.S. trucking industry is short some 80,000 drivers in a country where more than 70% of commercial goods reach their destination via truck. One reason is that the U.S. Department of Transportation makes it extremely difficult for would-be truckers to obtain commercial driver’s licenses if they’re being treated for opioid-use disorder with buprenorphine or methadone. States have even revoked licenses of patients who had been driving safely for years, solely because they took their medication as prescribed.

    The problem arises in part from contradictory regulations. Two federal rules allow commercial drivers to take controlled substances if prescribed by a medical practitioner who has concluded they won’t impair the ability to drive safely. But two other regulations state that commercial-driving employers aware of controlled substance use by employees shouldn’t permit them to drive, with no clear distinction between medical and nonmedical use.


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