|Did you fail or refuse a random drug test or a pre-employment drug test?
🙋🏻♂️ Do you have questions about how to search and find a DOT SAP program near you?
Learn how to find a highly-recommended SAP counselor near you, including what questions to ask during a phone consultation, so you can get back to work quickly and safely! ⬇️
1. Choose a Local SAP Counselor
Do you remember your favorite teacher who had an ability to explain something in a way that you immediately understood?
Or maybe you had a coach who knew exactly what to say to motivate you to complete a difficult workout?
A good SAP counselor is a lot like an experienced teacher or coach.
If you want the best possible outcome then it makes sense to choose a SAP counselor who lives in the same community as you, shares the same values, and connects with you as a person.
How long is the DOT SAP program near me?
The length of the DOT SAP program depends on your specific needs, determined by your SAP’s initial assessment and subsequent follow-up evaluations, but can be a few weeks to several months.
Here’s a general timeline:
Initial Evaluation: 1-2 hours
Treatment Phase: Varies (from weeks to months)
Follow-up Evaluation: 1 hour
Return-to-Duty Drug Test: 1 day
🤔 BONUS TIP: Avoid sponsored search results offering “nationwide” or “same-day” services as these ads are typically offered by brokers who promise “affordable pricing” but are just connecting you to a counselor for a referral commission.
2. Check DOT SAP Qualifications
A DOT qualified SAP counselor is not the same as a licensed professional counselor.
A DOT qualified substance abuse counselor is a DOT authorized counselor who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol regulation and want to complete the DOT return to duty program.49 CFR Part 40
To find a DOT qualified SAP counselor, we recommend 2 online directories to search for SAP counselors near you.
- SAPList is the most well-known DOT SAP directory and allows you to filter your search by city, state, zip code, and even language spoken.
- NAADAC is another well-respected DOT SAP directory that allows users to filter your search by city, zip code, and distance.
Can any licensed drug and alcohol counselor evaluate me?
No, only DOT qualified SAP counselors will be listed as a “designated SAP counselor” in the DOT return-to-duty program in the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
Click how to designate a SAP counselor in the Clearinghouse to learn more.
Can I change my current designated SAP counselor to a different counselor?
When your SAP accepts the designation request, you cannot change to a different SAP. If your designated SAP can’t meet the needs of supervising your treatment and education plan, contact the FMCSA for help.
3. Ask for Recommendations
While the DOT does require an employer to provide the employee (including applicants) who violate a DOT drug and alcohol regulation with a list of qualified SAPs, the list might not include all the substance abuse professionals available in your area.
🤔 BONUS TIP: While posting on social media for SAP recommendations might seem like the fastest method to finding a SAP, a substance abuse counselor isn’t the same as a tax accountant – you need to be certain your designated SAP is trustworthy, reliable, and has a consistent record of positive outcomes with clients.
4. Read Google Reviews
If you have narrowed your list of potential SAP counselors using SAPList or NAADAC then consider reading the comments from previous clients to understand the counselor’s effectiveness, approach, and professional demeanor.
While no business (or counselor) is perfect, a good rule of thumb is an effective SAP counselor should not only have a high number of 5-star reviews but also comments from clients explaining the best qualities of the SAP counselor.
Can a business change or edit a Google Review?
No, a business cannot alter a Google Review. However, a business can reply to negative reviews and clarify any changes or improvements made by the business.
How to search for Google Reviews of a local SAP counselor?
1. On your computer, open Google Maps.
2. Search for the local SAP counselor.
3. Below the counseling business name, you can find a 1-5 star rating.
4. To read comments, on the right of the star rating, click on the number of Google Reviews.
5. Return to Duty Process Explained
After choosing your designated SAP counselor in the FMCSA Clearinghouse, the client should then schedule an in-person or virtual evaluation with the SAP counselor.
Typically, a DOT qualified SAP counselor is licensed in the same state as the physical location of the counseling office, which is why choosing a local substance abuse counselor is so important.
The client should expect the DOT SAP return to duty process to follow the four steps listed below, although the duration of the program is determined by the circumstances and severity of the violations.
- Initial Evaluation:
- The SAP evaluates the nature and extent of your substance misuse.
- Recommendations for treatment and/or education are made based on the evaluation.
- Treatment and Education Programs:
- Follow the prescribed treatment program.
- The program’s length and content vary based on individual circumstances.
- Follow-Up Evaluation:
- Once the program is completed, a follow-up evaluation is conducted.
- The SAP assesses your progress and readiness to return to work.
- Return-to-Duty Process:
- After a successful follow-up evaluation, the return-to-duty process begins.
- This includes a return-to-duty test and follow-up testing.
How to designate a SAP counselor in the FMCSA Clearinghouse?
1. Navigate to the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
2. Click “Log In” and access the Clearinghouse using your login.gov username and password.
3. If you have a new violation in your Clearinghouse record, your Driver Dashboard will display a message prompting you to select a SAP.
4. Click designate your substance abuse professional to begin the process.
6. Evaluate Counselor Experience
The experience of a SAP counselor, especially in cases involving multiple violations, is a significant factor to consider.
While some clients might be more comfortable working with a SAP counselor of the same race or religion, the SAP must have extensive experience working with varying clients from flight attendants to truck drivers with positive reviews and successful outcomes.
“The client sets the pace of therapeutic change; the counselor needs to create the environment, structure the treatment and allow for clients to pursue natural change opportunities at a self-determined pace.”Marcheta Evans, Associate Dean, University of Texas at San Antonio
What are good questions to ask when choosing a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)?
According to Harvard Medical School, here are 10 questions to ask as you consider working with a substance abuse professional:
1. What’s your training (i.e., what certification or degrees do you hold)?
2. How long have you worked in this field?
3. What kinds of treatment or education do you think might help me?
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of prescription medication?
5. What can I expect in a SAP evaluation?
6. What are the chances that the program will succeed?
7. How soon should I start feeling better?
8. How will you assess my progress?
9. When do I take the follow-up drug test?
10. How much will the SAP program cost?
7. Free Phone Consultation
A free phone consultation with a SAP counselor is your opportunity to assess the counselor’s communication style and whether you feel comfortable and confident in their ability to guide you through the DOT SAP return-to-duty program.
After the initial phone consultation, make sure to follow through with any recommendations made by your designated SAP.
All DOT qualified SAP programs must offer:
- SAP Evaluation: A DOT SAP evaluation and assessment is made an in-person (or virtual) meeting with the client to determine the severity of the substance abuse.
- Treatment and Education: A tailored SAP treatment and education program is created to meet the specific needs and recovery of the client.
- Return to Duty Support: A SAP has a wealth of information and resources to support the client during the return-to-duty process, which can weeks or even months to complete.
Can I speak with a DOT SAP counselor for free?
Yes! A client can call a SAP with questions regarding their particular violations, financial circumstances, or even to get to know the counselor better.
It is common for clients to ask the SAP counselor about evaluation and treatment methods, typical costs, and payment options.
How many SAP counselors should I contact before choosing my designated SAP?
In general, speaking with 3 local SAP counselors should provide you with enough information about each SAP to make an educated decision about which SAP is a good-fit for your circumstances.
Remember to use a recommended online directory, like SAPList, to find local DOT qualified SAP counselors, and carefully read the Google Reviews from previous clients.
8. Discuss Costs and Insurance
While every client’s financial situation is different, understanding the potential expenses involved in the SAP return-to-duty process is critical to successfully completing the program.
The national average cost for the DOT SAP program is between $500 to $600 depending on the complexity of the violation(s) with drug tests averaging between $30 to $60 each.
Some employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to help offset the costs of the DOT SAP program while your health insurance may provide partial or full coverage of the initial evaluation and treatment costs.
Contact your insurance agent or HR representative about any assistance programs available to you.
How much does a DOT SAP program near me cost?
Typically, a DOT SAP counselor will charge around $500 depending on the complexity of the violation(s) and the recommended treatment plan.
While some employers offer EAP programs to assist with the cost of treatment, health insurance may also cover the DOT return-to-duty program.
How do Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) Work?
Some employers offer financial assistance programs to help offset the costs of the DOT SAP program.
These assistance programs can range from partial reimbursements to full coverage of the initial evaluation and treatment costs.
How do I know if my employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
1. Contact HR: Reach out to your Human Resources department to ask about any available assistance programs.
2. Review Company Policy: Check your employee handbook for information on drug testing and financial assistance.
3. Ask Your Designated SAP: Your Substance Abuse Professional may also have information on employers who offer financial assistance.
9. SAP Evaluation
In most instances, a SAP evaluation can be conducted in-person or through a virtual encrypted video link provided by your designated SAP.
If you have chosen a local SAP counselor and have reliable transportation then consider an in-person evaluation at the SAP’s counseling office, which eliminates the possibility of a problematic internet connection.
Also, some clients find the assessment and evaluation more comfortable in a face-to-face meeting.
🤔 BONUS TIP: The client must designate the SAP counselor in the FMCSA Clearinghouse prior to the SAP evaluation.
What happens during SAP evaluation?
During a SAP evaluation, the SAP counselor will perform an assessment to determine the extent of your substance use or controlled substances misuse.
The SAP counselor will then recommend education, treatment, and follow-up testing required for you to return to duty.
What is a court ordered alcohol and drug assessment?
A court-ordered alcohol and drug assessment is a mandatory evaluation conducted by a qualified substance abuse professional to determine the extent of an individual’s alcohol or drug use and its impact on their life.
The assessment is often required by a court to decide on appropriate sentencing or treatment options for individuals charged with alcohol or drug-related offenses.
10. Trust Your Instincts
Finally, trust your instincts!
If you do not feel comfortable and confident in a SAP counselor then choose a different counselor who makes you feel supported, understood, and prepared to navigate the SAP return to duty process.
In 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported a 31.6% increase in marijuana violations among truck drivers, underscoring the importance of selecting a qualified SAP.FMCSA
Using these 10 steps to finding a DOT SAP program, you can confidently choose a SAP counselor who is well-equipped to guide you through the complexities of returning to duty, ensuring a successful outcome, and a focus on your well-being.