FMCSA Increases Testing Rates

Scott Watson is a Qualified DOT/SAP.
Call Heartland Intervention at 317-752-8811 for all your DOT/SAP needs.

Testing Rate Increases in 2020

The FMCSA announced recently that they have increased the drug testing rates for employees in safety-sensitive duty. Truck drivers and others covered by the rule will likely be subject to an increased number of random drug screens in 2020. The alcohol rate remains at 10%.

According to a document published in the Federal Register on Dec. 27, the agency is increasing the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing from 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50% of the average number of driver positions. This change will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Who is Impacted?

For reference, FMCSA estimates there are 3.2 million commercial driver license holders participating in interstate commerce and 1 million CDL holders. Under the annual random testing rate of 25% of all driving positions, this meant at least 1.05 million random controlled substances tests were to be conducted. With a testing rate of 50%, approximately 2.1 million random tests will need to be conducted in 2020.

DOT Return to Duty Changes

Employees who don’t pass those screens will be subject to the DOT Return to Duty Process as outlined in CFR Part 40. Aside from the addition of the Clearinghouse in 2020- that process remains largely the same. Our friends at ITI have included this in their announcement this week.

DOT/SAP Services from Heartland Intervention

Heartland Intervention, LLC is the leading provider of Substance Abuse Professional services in the area. Scott J. Watson is a qualified DOT/SAP with many years of experience. He is registered in the FMCSA Clearinghouse and ready to assist you.

These changes can be confusing for drivers and companies alike. For more info, click HERE. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Scott- call 317-752-8811.

Summertime DUI

Summer and DUI

For many of us Summer features picnics, reunions, concerts and parties which often feature alcohol and drug use.  It’s common to pick up the paper and find that public officials, teachers, coaches and others well known in the community have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI, OVWI or similar).  The experience is understandably challenging but can be made much better by getting an independent, professional assessment.

When facing charges for drunk driving or similar, many defendants will choose to be represented by an attorney.  One of the Best Divorce Johnson County requests that their clients get an assessment to assist with the legal defense.  Experience shows and attorneys tell us that an assessment can greatly reduce probation or jail time and can be useful in obtaining a hardship drivers license.

Professional Evaluations and Assessments

When seeking an assessment, it is important to look for these three things: proper professional credentials, independent affiliation and experience.  It’s critical that your assessment be completed by someone with a Masters Degree and LCAC licensure.  Anything less is not enough.  It’s important to utilize an independent professional who has no ties to treatment facilities.  This assures no dual relationships and that you will get an honest evaluation of your use and situation.  Finally, you should use a professional who is experienced not just as a therapist but as an evaluator and report creator.

At Heartland Intervention, our founder Scott J. Watson is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor and DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) with experience in conducting complex substance use evaluations.  If you or a loved one are facing legal charges or needs an evaluation for any other reason, call us at 317-752-8811.  We are committed to affordable and professional care in timely manner.

Drivers Face DOT Changes

Heartland Intervention, LLC

The FMCSA has signaled big changes in an effort to close a loophole in the DOT Return to Duty Process. In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking state licensing agencies will be required to “downgrade” the license of a driver for whom a verified positive drug test, a confirmed alcohol test of 0.04 or higher, a refusal to submit to a test, or an employer’s actual knowledge is reported to the Clearinghouse.  In short- fail a urine drug screen or breath alcohol test, you will lose your license as well.

The goal of this proposed change is to make sure that employees are not merely switching employers following a violation. CFR Part 40 requires those employees to complete the specified Return to Duty Process which includes seeing a qualified Substance Abuse Professional.  While no date has been announced for this change it will likely occur as the Clearinghouse goes into effect in January, 2020.  The Clearinghouse requires all violations to be entered into a web-based data system.

We at Heartland Intervention, LLC applaud this change but realize that it will likely result in dramatically higher costs for employees. We are a leading provider of DOT Substance Abuse Professional evaluations in Indiana.  If you have any questions about this change the current DOT Return to Duty guidelines, call Scott J. Watson, SAP directly at 317-752-8811.

DUI Alcohol or Drug Assessment

Need for Assessment When Facing DUI

In a typical year, about 15,000 Indiana residents will be charged with dui crimes or equivalent charge. Being arrested for drunk driving can be dangerous, embarrassing, expensive and complicate one’s situation at home or work. When faced with legal charges related to drugs or alcohol, most marijuana crime defense attorney suggest that their clients obtain an independent professional drug and alcohol evaluation, There is very good evidence that Abbeycare’s alcohol recovery programmes are the right starting point for long term recovery and abstinence, you can get over information over the website they have for exactly this.

Clinical Qualifications

Use great caution when deciding whom you will chose to do your substance abuse assessment. When facing legal charges, employment, custody of children, your freedom and ability to drive are often at risk. Heartland  Intervention strongly suggests that your assessment only be conducted by a clinician who is licensed by the state and has at least a Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling. In Indiana, many licensees have been grandfathered in and lack the needed advanced academic preparation. Heartland Intervention, LLC is a leading provider of substance abuse evaluations in Indiana, and that’s why some people decide to replace drugs with other supplements as CBD products such as the kushiebites edibles you can find online. Your assessment should ALWAYS be face to face. The courts and prosecutor can’t be expected to trust an assessment from someone who has never actually met you.

Assessment Components

While each professional approaches assessments differently, all assessments should include several parts that cover a wide variety of clinical areas, as the importance of good nutrition. This allows for a complete picture of the person and also helps to assure that the client receives appropriate recommendations going forward. 

Benefits of an Assessment

Our clients and their attorneys frequently tell us that an independent evaluation can be an important part of the legal defense. Independent clinical professionals can offer an unbiased impression of a person’s drug or alcohol use. A DUI assessment also can be used to demonstrate to the court that a person is seriously focused on making any necessary changes. 

Heartland Intervention founder Scott J. Watson is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor, Master Addictions Counselor and qualified DOT Substance Abuse Professional. He has over 10 years of experience and special training in assessment of drug and alcohol disorders. If you are facing DUI or other charges call him today at 317-752-8811

Learn how police detect impaired drivers. Many of these driving behaviors would be ignored during daylight. However, the risk of getting pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving goes up at night. It increases greatly between around midnight and 4:00 am. And it jumps very high on holidays, especially after dark.

Be sure to learn what lawyers say to do if stopped on suspicion of DWI. In addition, some drivers secretly audio record their interactions on their cell phones if police pull them over.

I. Costs of a DWI or DUI

avoid a DWI

The exact costs of a first DWI conviction vary widely. It depends on the state, the circumstances, the effectiveness of the defense lawyer, the judge, and many other factors.

The estimated cost in New York, for example, is $9,500. In Illinois it’s $14,660 while in North Carolina it’s $4,820. A survey by the Texas Department of Transportation found that the average cost ranges from $9,000 to $24,000. In California, it ranges from $6,140 to $19,450.

However there are other expenses. Insurance rates jump after a DWI conviction. In the case of a teen driver, it can be $40,000 over 13 years. Conviction may mean loss of a job (or inability to get one), especially if it requires driving a vehicle.

And not all costs involve money. There can also be embarrasment, inconvenience, time spent in jail, time spent in “DWI school,” and so on.

II. Tips to avoid a DWI or DUI

If you choose to drink, be sure to keep your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) low. Here are some tips for doing so.

  1. Standard DrinksKeep in mind that typical drinks of beer, wine, and spirit have the same amount of pure alcohol. They are all the same to a breathalyzer.
  2. Remember that breathalyzers are not highly reliable. So keep your BAC far below the maximum legal limit. (This has additional advantages. It may prevent a crash, injury, or even save your life.)
  3. Use a personal alcohol breath tester. Just remember that it’s even less accurate than those used by the police. That’s another reason to stay well below the legal limit.
  4. Remember that your BAC will continue to rise after you stop drinking. Take that into consideration.
  5. Your BAC will drop about .015 per hour after it peaks. A BAC of .05 takes about 3.33 hours to drop to .00. (.05 divided by .015 = 3.33.) A BAC of .08 takes about 5.33 hours to drop to .oo (.08 divided by .015 = 5.33). By the way, your body also produces alcohol 24/7.
  6. Nibble on food or munchies during the time you’re drinking.
  7. If you’re at a gathering, delay having your first alcoholic drink.
  8. Pace your alcoholic drinks. No more than one every hour helps keep your BAC low.
  9. Have non-alcoholic drinks between alcoholic ones.

Worried About Addiction?

Heartland Intervention

When drug or alcohol addiction strikes a family it invokes many feelings and thoughts.  Often families give money, rides, cell phones, housing and more in an effort to help the addict in the addiction recovery. Often families are trying to keep things from getting worse.  While the motive might be pure the family often finds that their efforts don’t produce the hoped-for effect.  Sadly, the addict avoids the natural consequences of their choices.  The result is an increase in  frustration that can lead to arguments, threats, resentments and more. The Beaches Treatment Center is the the highest rated Florida Substance Abuse Treatment Center.

During the intervention planning process, Heartland Intervention works with families on developing the best possible attitude toward the alcoholic or addict.  That attitude states, “We are willing to do almost anything to support you in recovery.  But we are no longer willing to do much of anything to support you in addiction.”  By adopting this mindset, families are really acknowledging three things.

  1. We have done things out of love that have enabled the addiction.
  2. We are taking a stand for our loved one and against addiction.
  3. We are choosing a healthier course for ourselves independent of the decision of others.

I further elaborated on this points at Basement Flood Cleanup. On the topic at hand though, choosing recovery is a decision that every member of the family must come to grips with.   It involves individual decisions that utilize healthy boundaries and are designed to protect marriages, young children, financial resources and more.

If your family is struggling with addiction it may be time to reach out to Heartland Intervention, LLC for help as part of your Addiction Recovery Therapy to beat this problem   We are a leading provider of intervention services in Indiana and beyond.  Our founder Scott J. Watson is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor, Master Addictions Counselor and DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional.  Call him today at 877-752-8811 and learn how you can adopt the best possible attitude to help your loved one overcome addiction.