August 2018

DRUG SCREENING CHANGES NOW IN EFFECT:
BEWARE!

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As of January 1 of this year the Coast Guard has added several prescription "Opioids" to the list of drugs that can effect a mariners ability to sail. If tested positive for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone or oxycodone, the Medical Review Officer will interview the mariner to determine if a legitimate medical explanation exists for the result. A valid prescription must be provided or the test result will be considered positive. A positive result, of course, will require removal of the mariner from service and the Coast Guard will be notified to take further action. This expanded category of opiates are commonly labeled OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Dilaudid and Exalgo. If you are taking any of these medications prescribed by your doctor be sure and discuss with them your safety-sensitive duties and determine if there are alternative medications that do not trigger this expanded Coast Guard list that trigger an investigation.

QUESTION FROM THE BRIDGE

I have been taking Norco for an old back injury for a couple of years without any questions being asked. I have read about the new regulation regarding this medication. Will I be prevented from sailing if I continue to take it?
Jack C, New York.

Answer:
Jack,
Not necessarily, but it can trigger an investigation process that could delay your ability to work. Be sure to carry a current, valid prescription for this medication at all times while sailing in the event your test results reveal a positive result.

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For more than four decades, merchant mariners, longshoremen, fishermen and harbor workers plying their trades at sea, on the docks, on our U.S. coastal waters and inland waterways have turned to the maritime law firm of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates in Oakland. Today, we are proud to be recognized as one of the preeminent maritime law firms serving injured marine workers nationwide, as well as one of the most successful personal injury litigation firms serving victims of negligence in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the West Coast.

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