Fail a Drug or Alcohol Test? Test Positive and Need Help?

Fail a drug or alcohol test?

Is your employer requiring an evaluation?

We can enroll you in a SAP Program to help you BE CONSIDERED FOR RETURN TO WORK!

We have DOT-Qualified SAPs and SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROFESSIONALS available across Hawaii.

If you have violated DOT regulations or your employer’s drug and alcohol policies, we understand that your job and income is at stake. In the past 25 years, Employee Assistance of the Pacific has assisted over 1,500 employees across the Hawaiian Islands with the return-to-duty process.  We have providers on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai, as well as on the Mainland.

Call us and we'll get you started!

We usually get you scheduled within 3 business days with a DOT or Non-DOT provider on your island. (It might take longer on Neighbor Islands where there is only one SAP close to you.)

Some of the companies we serve cover the costs for your SAP Evaluation Services.

We also can provide these services to you on a Fee-For-Service basis if your company does not cover the costs.

The process includes:

  • Scheduling of the initial evaluation
  • A face-to-face substance abuse evaluation with a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional (DOT-SAP for DOT cases) or a professional drug/alcohol counselor (for non-DOT cases)
  • The SAP makes recommendations for education or treatment per DOT requirements and issues an initial report to your employer
  • You complete the recommended education or treatment (at your own expense)
  • A follow-up face-to-face meeting with the SAP to document compliance with recommendations
  • The SAP issues a report to your employer documenting your compliance and makes recommendations for submitting to a return-to-duty test.


If you are a DOT regulated employee and work in a safety sensitive position, in the trucking, public transit, aviation, maritime, pipeline, or railroad industries and have violated a DOT drug and alcohol testing regulation, you are required to go through the SAP process. DOT-mandated employees must see a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) who is required to have specialized training, credentialing and continuing education and who follows specific laws regarding recommended education and/or treatment facilities.


If you are a non-DOT-regulated employee and are required to go through a Substance Abuse program to get back into compliance with your company’s drug and alcohol policy, we have Substance Abuse Specialists ready to assist you. The process follows DOT regulations as closely as possible, but there are some exceptions.


Q: I’m a safety-sensitive worker and failed a drug test so violated DOT regulations – what happens now?

A: Safety-sensitive employees mandated by the DOT are not allowed to perform safety-sensitive duties until they have seen a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and successfully completed their recommendations and the return-to-duty process. If you work in a safety-sensitive position anywhere before you successfully complete the return-to-duty process, this is a violation of the DOT regulations (49 CFR Part 40) and could result in fines being assessed to you as well as to another employer who hires you.

Q: I’m not under DOT but violated my company’s drug/alcohol policies – what happens now?

A: If you are a non-DOT-regulated employee that has failed an employer drug or alcohol test, your employer may (or may not) allow you to continue performing safety-sensitive and/or non-safety-sensitive work functions. This depends on the employer and their policies. Your employer may require you to be assessed by a substance abuse specialist and follow all required recommendations for treatment or education, undergo a follow-up evaluation, and submit to a return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol test as well as additional testing once you return to work.

Q: What if I don’t like what the SAP recommends or can’t do what they recommend?

A: Once you see a DOT-SAP, you must complete their recommendations to return to work or stay in safety-sensitive work. You cannot get a second opinion.

Q: Will I lose my job if I test positive or refuse a test in the future?

A: Usually; although these decisions are solely the employer’s, based on company policy and/or any collective bargaining agreements.

Q: My employer told me I need to get in touch with a SAP (Substance Abuse Professional). How do I do this?

A: DOT Regulation 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart O requires your employer or a service agent of the employer to provide the contact information for a DOT-qualified SAP (40.287). If you call us we will assign you to the SAP closest to you that can see you as quickly as possible. Note that on Neighbor Islands where there are few SAPs (or only one!) qualified by DOT, this may take longer than on Oahu.

Q: What if I don’t complete the SAP program or go back a second time?

A. You cannot perform safety-sensitive duties for any employer or as an owner operator until you have complied with the DOT’s Part 40 regulated SAP program.

Q: Can I find a SAP on my own?

A: Yes, you can. Keep in mind that all SAPs have to meet DOT requirements. The SAP has to be qualified by DOT and meet DOT regulations.

Q: When can I start the SAP program?

A. When you call us, we typically get you seen by the SAP within 72 business hours. Sometimes, especially on Neighbor Islands, where there are not a variety of DOT-qualified SAPs available, this can take longer.

Q: Where are the SAPs located?

A: We have SAPs available across Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai. (Mainland SAPs are also available through us for those companies with whom we are contracted to provide these services.)

Q: Where can I look up the drug & alcohol testing rules?

A: All the different DOT modes -- the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA], the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [FMCSA], the Federal Railroad Administration [FRA], the Federal Transit Administration [FTA], the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [PHMSA], and the United States Coast Guard [USCG] -- have industry-specific regulations which in total cover approximately 12.1 million transportation employees who perform safety-sensitive functions. These regulations spell out who is subject to testing, when and in what circumstances. These regulations can be found on the DOT website, Each agency has its own regulations, which can be found at

Q: Does my employer have to pay for my SAP services?

A: The DOT left this up to the employer. Some employers do and some don’t. Remember that the cost of education or treatment recommended by the SAP is usually yours to pay as well. 

Q: Will my results follow me to other employers?

A: Your DOT drug and alcohol testing history will follow you to your new employer. Employers are required by law to provide certain records of your DOT drug and alcohol testing history to your new employer. This is why it is important to follow through with the SAP’s recommendations!

Q: Who decides when I can return to work?

A: It is up to the SAP to make a recommendation for a return-to-duty test. It is the employer who ultimately decides when or if you are eligible for return to duty.

Q: Can I perform safety-sensitive duties before completing the SAP process?

A: No. Employees who violate DOT regulations must show compliance to the recommendations and be seen by the SAP for a follow-up evaluation. During the follow-up evaluation the SAP will determine if the employee is eligible to be considered for return to duty.

Q. Will I be able to continue to drive my personal vehicle with a DOT testing violation?

A. Yes, a violation will only prohibit you from operating a vehicle in excess of 26,001 lbs. or a commercial vehicle that carries more than 15 passengers and a driver.

Q. Why do companies do this?

A. Companies do drug and alcohol testing for a variety of reasons. Some companies fall under DOT guidelines for their safety-sensitive employees so must follow DOT guidlines that protect the safety of the public. Nobody wants their airline pilot, bus driver, etc. to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while they're working! Some companies follow Drug-Free Workplace guidelines because they have to, or because they understand that the risks to the company of not doing so would jeopardize the safety of employees and the public, and threaten their bottom line if they did not do all they could to assure safety. Some companies test employees because they know that the sooner they get impaired employees into the right help, the better they and their families do, and the more this impacts the company in a positive way. It is ultimately a competitive advantage for companies in today's world to make sure their employees are not impaired while they're at work, and to support troubled employees by getting them the best help possble as quickly as possible.

Q. Does this process actually help anyone?

A. Absolutely. Most people who go through this process figure out other ways to cope with life, health, stress, and/or addiction. Most people who go through this process end up as valuable (and valued) employees who have learned to do their jobs without being impaired or putting others at risk. Most people end up thankful to have been given a chance to clean up their act, keep their career, and find a healthier way to move ahead with their lives. They're not usually thankful when they call the first time! But this usually changes along the way.