Flight crew, air traffic controllers to be tested for drugs

(IANS) The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will from now on test flight crew members and air traffic controllers for use of drugs.

A DGCA notification said that testing will be done on urine samples with consent from the concerned person. The test shall be carried out post-flight or post-shift, as the case may be, it said.

DGCA shall carry out random drug testing for the consumption of psychoactive substance. In Phase 1, random testing shall be done by a DGCA authorised laboratory at six airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Hyderabad — in the presence of a DGCA officer of the level of Assistant Director or above,” the notification said.

Medical personnel of the concerned organizations may also be associated with this process, as per the notification.

This programme shall ensure that at least 10 percent of the employees of an organisation are covered in a year, it said, adding that the cost of the examination shall be borne by the concerned organisation whose employees have been subjected to the examinations.

Further, airlines would also have to ensure that pilots and Air Traffic Control (ATC) officers are tested for detection of drug abuse before employing them after an accident. All the positive cases shall be reported by the organisation to DAS and DGCA within 24 hours.

“All organisations should encourage their employees for self-declaration regarding use of psychoactive substance. Such employees shall be subjected to rehabilitation process by the organisation before returning to active duty. All such cases shall also be reported to the DGCA,” it said.

The psychoactive substances for which the aviation personnel would be tested include cocaine, marijuana, amphetamine, MDMA or ecstasy, among others.

The confirmatory test will be carried out at a DGCA authorised laboratory and if the screening test is positive, the employee shall be immediately removed from the safety sensitive duty till a confirmatory report is received.

“In case of positive confirmatory test for the first time, the concerned employee shall undergo de-addiction or rehabilitation programme and will return to active duty after again having undergone the tests for the consumption of the psychoactive substance, clearance by treating psychiatrist and certification by the Chief Medical Officer of the concerned organisation,” the notification said.

In case a person who has returned to safety sensitive duty after having been tested positive once is found positive in the confirmatory test on a second occasion, the license of such person shall be cancelled.

If a person refuses to undergo the examination, he shall be removed from the safety sensitive duties until such a person clears detailed drug testing profile within a period of one week, failing which the license of the involved person shall be suspended for a period of three years, the notification said.

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