Ann Cain

Catoosa County Human Resources Director Ann Cain, during a Dec. 19 Board of Commissioner's meeting, discusses updates to the Federal Transit Administration's drug testing policy. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)

The new year has brought new changes to what Catoosa County will have to look for when drug testing its transit drivers following a policy update from the Federal Transit Administration.

According to Catoosa County Human Resources Director Ann Cain, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is a part of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), recently implemented the policy change with counties expected to follow suit.

"It's a drug testing expansion," Cain explained during the Dec. 19 Board of Commissioner's meeting. "In November of 2017, the FTA portion of the Georgia Department of Transportation published a final rule expanding the current drug testing panel to include semi-synthetic opioids. For example, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone."

Cain says the change will ultimately impact the testing of drivers in the Catoosa County Trans-Aid Department.

"The new ruling requires the county to expand its drug testing panel for all the FTA drivers, which would be our public transportation drivers in the transit department," Cain said. "The policy is just expanding the drug panel."

Commissioners unanimously approved the required change regarding the Trans-Aid Department and also approved revising the county's own policy.

"For the next portion, it is the desire of the county manager to revise the countywide policy to also include this," Cain said. "All CDL drivers would fall under the county policy."

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.