Can you direct me on where I could look for which prescription drugs are automatic disqualifiers with DOT and which are not?
Me and another provider continue to dispute benzodiazepines and opioids and if the driver can pass the physical.  I think that the driver can pass if they are not having sedative effects with the medications.  He states that all benzos are DQ.
The short answer is that benzodiazepines are generally disqualifying as they cause sedation.
Here is the guidance from the Medical Examiner handbook and the Medical Expert Panel report on Psychiatric disorders:

Anxiolytic and Sedative Hypnotic Drugs Treatment Use and Risks

Anxiolytic drugs are those used for the treatment of anxiety disorders, and drugs to treat insomnia are termed sedative hypnotics. Studies have demonstrated that benzodiazepines, the most commonly used anxiolytics and sedative hypnotics, in pharmacologically active dosages impair skills perfomance. The effects of benzodiazepines on skills performance generally apply also to virtually all non-benzodiazepines sedative hypnotics, although the impairment that they produce is generally less profound. However, barbiturates and other sedative hypnotics related to barbiturates cause greater impairment in performance then benzodiazepines. Epidemiological studies indicate that the use of benzodiazepines and other sedative hypnotics is probably associated with an increased risk of automobile accidents.

Based on scientific study of anxiolytics and sedative hypnotics, the task force members make the following recommendations:

  • Patients requiring anxiolytic medications should be precluded from commercial driving. This recommendation would not apply to patients treated effectively with non-sedative anxiolytics such as buspirone.
  • Individuals requiring hypnotics should use only drugs. with half lives of less than 5 hours for less than 2 weeks under medical supervision and at only the lowest effective dose.
  • The urine drug screen performed as part of the biennial physical examination should include a screen for benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

Schedule I

These drugs have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, have a high abuse potential, and are not considered safe, even under medical supervision. These substances include many opiates, opiate derivatives, and hallucinogenic substances. Heroin and marijuana are examples of Schedule I drugs. The exception criteria of 49 CFR 41(b)(12)(ii) does not apply to any Schedule I substance.

NOTE: The driver taking medical marijuana cannot be certified.

Schedule II

These drugs have currently accepted medical uses but have a high abuse potential that may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Schedule II drugs include opioids, depressants, and amphetamines. The opioids in Schedule II include natural opioids (e.g., morphine) and synthetic opioids (e.g., OxyContin).

Controlled Substances listed here

NOTE: Interpretation for 49 CFR 391.41
Methadone is a habit-forming narcotic which can produce drug dependence and is not an allowable drug for operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMV).

Schedules III – V

These drugs have decreasing potential for abuse than preceding schedules. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs include tranquilizers. Schedule IV drugs include drugs such as chlorhydrol and phenobarbital. Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse and include narcotic compounds or mixtures.

Side effects are not part of the DEA schedule rating criteria. Therefore, a substance can have little risk for addiction and abuse but still have side effects that interfere with driving ability.

Here are some additional considerations for any medication use in the commercial driver.


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