Evaluation of fta drug abuse testing program april 2008
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Evaluation of FTA Drug Abuse Testing Program April 2008. Jerry Powers, FTA Office of Program Management – Safety & Security. Evaluation Analysis Opportunities. Use DAMIS data and external cost measures to develop a cost benefit model

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Evaluation of FTA Drug Abuse Testing Program April 2008

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Evaluation of fta drug abuse testing program april 2008

Evaluation of FTA Drug Abuse Testing ProgramApril 2008

Jerry Powers, FTA Office of Program Management – Safety & Security

Evaluation analysis opportunities

Evaluation Analysis Opportunities

  • Use DAMIS data and external cost measures to develop a cost benefit model

  • Compare DAMIS data to SAMIS data to determine safety benefit from the D&A Program

  • Raise the bar – provide customer service. Opportunities to use DAMIS to help agencies justify D&A expenditure apart from it just being a regulatory requirement

  • Show where to focus efforts/funding - areas for improvement

Charter prove the effectiveness of the d a program in achieving fta strategic goal

CHARTERProve the Effectiveness of the D&A Program in Achieving FTA Strategic Goal

  • Promoting public safety by eliminating transit-related deaths, injuries, and property damage


  • Maturing DAMIS data together with:

    • Safety Data (SAMIS/NTD)

    • Audits/Technical assistance experience and data

    • Other Industry and Government D&A measures

    • Creative analysis

New measures of cost and safety benefits money lives mayhem

New Measures of Cost and Safety BenefitsMoney, Lives & Mayhem

Cost Benefit

  • Show cost saving to Transit Industry due to elimination or mitigation of D&A using employees

  • Second chance programs have significant cost benefit to industry

  • Audits are having a positive effect in terms of safety benefits and cost savings

  • Use baseline rate (1995 or 1996) and subsequent improvement to prove reduction in accidents, fatalities and injuries

Safety Benefit



  • Concept and Measures

  • FTA and Testing Costs

  • Benefits

    • Mitigation of Drug & Alcohol positives

      • Pre-employment

      • Random

      • Reasonable Suspicion

      • Refusals

      • Post-Accident

      • Deterrent Effect

    • Safety

    • Audits

    • Second Chance Programs

D a evaluation concept

D&A Evaluation Concept





NTD S&S Data



NTD S&S Data

Other Industry

and Government

D&A Cost






Merge these

baselines into cost benefit spreadsheet

Of D&A Program

NTD S&S Data

NTD S&S Data

Merge these

baselines to show D&A contributing to accident avoidance





Other Industry

and Government

D&A Cost


Industry and government d a cost measures

Industry and Government D&A Cost Measures

Damis baseline

DAMIS Baseline

  • Random Positives are on the decline

  • CDL positive rate is higher than other employee categories

Ntd s s baseline

NTD S&S Baseline

  • Transit Industry is getting safer. Incidents, injuries and fatalities are trending down

I cost methodology cost benefit spreadsheet

I. Cost Methodology - Cost Benefit Spreadsheet

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

Cost methodology unit of measurement

Cost Methodology – Unit of Measurement

  • Each D&A using employee costs the Transit Industry and the overall society $15-20K per year:

    • Health Care Expenditures

      • D&A abuse services

      • Medical consequences

    • Productivity Effects

      • Premature Death

      • Impaired productivity

      • Institutionalization, Incarceration, Crime careers and victims

    • Other Effects

      • Crime effects

      • Vehicle crashes and fire

  • D&A Program eliminates or mitigates users at $15-20K per user per year




FTA Total Cost per Year - FY2001


Total Tests


Total Random and Reasonable Suspicion Drug Tests


Cost per Test - from 1999 Rural


Actual Cost of Tests


Safety Sensitive Employee Productivity Cost (per test)


Total National Productivity Cost to Agencies

Cost of Drug & Alcohol Program Personnel at Transit Agencies (per




Total National Administrative Cost to Agencies


Total Cost


  • Costs have ranged from $22M-$36M per year since 1995

Savings methodology

Savings Methodology

  • Transit is 0.14% of the US Gross National Product (approximately $17.4 Billion/year in 2005)

  • Cost of Drug use and Alcohol misuse to the US economy is $483 Billion per year – NIDA measure indexed

  • Transit portion of that cost is $677 Million per year. Safety-sensitive are 80% of transit employees. Thus incur $542 Million of that cost.

  • 10.6% of Transportation Workers with drug use and/or alcohol misuse - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Survey

  • Approximately 260,000 safety-sensitive transit employees

  • Thus, ~27,500 incur the $542 Million in annual cost

  • $542,000,000/27,500 employees = $19,700 per year per employee in 2005

  • Deterring or mitigating those 27,500 employees is the basic savings opportunity

Savings methodology1

Savings Methodology

Cost methodology pre employment savings

Cost MethodologyPre-employment Savings

  • Pre-employment testing - eliminated 18,125 users over the course of the Program. These users would have cost the Transit Industry $358 Million in 2005 (18,125*$19,753 = ~$358,000,000).

Cost methodology random savings

Cost MethodologyRandom Savings

  • Random testing - eliminated or mitigated 5701 users over the previous 5 years of the program in 2005. These users would have cost the Transit Industry $112 Million in 2005 (5701*$19,753 = ~$112,000,000).

Cost methodology post accident reasonable suspicion and refusals

Cost MethodologyPost-Accident, Reasonable Suspicion, and Refusals

  • Post Accident positives - eliminated or mitigated 1041 users over previous 5 years in 2005. These users would have cost the Transit Industry $21 Million in 2005.

  • Reasonable Suspicion - eliminated or mitigated 601 over previous 5 years in 2005. These users would have cost the Transit Industry $12 Million in 2005.

  • Refusals - eliminated 1506 users over previous 5 years in 2005. These users would have cost the Transit Industry $30 Million in 2005.

Deterrent effect of random testing

Deterrent Effect of Random Testing

Year to Year calculation – no cumulative effect

If the positive rate remained

the same as at the beginning

of the program, each year there

would be ~2000 more positives

per year

Random Positive Rate

Deterrence random program

Deterrence – Random Program

  • Has saved a total of $347 Million 1995-2005

  • From $9M to up to $56M per year

Cost methodology

Cost Methodology

  • Drug and Alcohol Rules Cost Benefit (Regulatory Impact Analysis) called for a $1.39 Billion benefit over 10 years. An average of $139 million/year.

  • Real data from the first 11 years blows this figure away

    • $3.683 Billion (or $335 million per year average)

Redskins 27

Cowboys 14

It’s Up and…. It’s Good!

Safety methodology d a accidents are comparable with regular accidents in lethality

Safety Methodology - D&A Accidents are Comparable with Regular Accidents in Lethality

  • SAMIS shows and .0071 fatalities per Accident (Collision) 1995 – 1998.

  • DAMIS shows .0077 fatalities per D&A Accident.

  • Thus, D&A has comparable lethality to Overall Safety figures in fatal accidents (8% higher than non-D&A accidents).

  • Fatalities are a function of accidents – bad luck when they occur

Safety methodology show that d a program saves lives and reduces injuries

Safety Methodology - Show that D&A Program Saves Lives and Reduces Injuries

  • D&A Program Reduces Accidents and thus, exposure to Injuries and Fatalities

  • No way of measuring the D&A related accident rate before the program, so…

  • Use 1995 as a baseline

Saving lives it s what s above the curve

Saving Lives: It’s What’s above the Curve

Post-Accident Positive Rate (Drug and Alcohol)

Per Incident

  • Using 1995 as a baseline,

  • the dark wedge represents:

  • 1690 Accidents

  • 13 Fatalities

  • 1486 Injuries

Post Accident Positive Rate

Safety methodology less accidents less mayhem

Safety Methodology -Less Accidents = Less Mayhem

  • DAMIS showed that 3.1% accidents were D&A related in 1995 (Baseline)

  • DAMIS showed that 1.5% accidents were D&A related in 2005 (Improvement)

  • If the rate had remained at 3.1%, 1690 more accidents would have resulted from 1996-2005.

  • National Transit Database (NTD) Safety & Security module reveals that .0071 fatalities result per accident (collisions, vehicle going off road, and derailments)

  • At an overall DAMIS rate of .0077 fatalities per accident, these 817 accidents would be expected to cause 13.02 fatalities.

The fta drug alcohol testing program

The FTA Drug & Alcohol Testing Program

The decrease in illicit drug use in the transit industry has resulted in the positive rate dropping from 1.76% to 0.81% resulting in:

  • An avoidance of 1,690 accidents that would have produced approximately 13 fatalities and 1486 injuries.

  • The elimination or mitigation through rehabilitation of 29,841 illicit drug users in the transit industry through both testing and deterrence

    3.       Productivity benefits and total societal economic cost avoidance of $3.68 billion dollars

Training cost for new employees

Training Cost for New Employees

  • Transit employee salary – weighted average from 2000 Bureau of Labor Statistics

Cost measures is return to duty and follow up a benefit or a burden

Cost Measures - Is Return-to-duty and Follow-up a Benefit or a Burden?

  • It is estimated that to train new employee, it costs 1/3rd of an employee’s annual salary

  • $1650 per month – D&A Using employee

D&A Abusing




Costs for

New Employees

Is second chance policy beneficial to industry yes

Second Chance Programs

Return to Duty and Follow-up



Return-to-Duty Tests (Both Drugs & Alcohol)


Follow-up Tests (Both Drugs & Alcohol)


Positives - Failed Return-to-Duty Tests (Both Drugs & Alcohol)


Positives - Failed Follow-up Tests (Both Drugs & Alcohol)


Percent Positives per Return-to-Duty Employee 1995-2005


Follow-up tests per RTD employee 1995-2005

Average Transit Salary - 2000


Savings through the Avoidance of Training Costs

Societal Economic Cost of Employing a Drug User or Alcohol Misuser

(2 months or 1/6 of Average Annual Economic Impact of Each Drug &

Alcohol Using Transit Employee)


Cost of Additional Testing - Return-to-Duty and Follow-up (assume

$70/test because of Urban focus)



Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) Cost (assume $960/ RTD Emp.)


Net (Savings minus Costs) - Second Chance Programs

Is Second Chance Policy Beneficial to Industry? YES


  • Benefit is almost 5 times more than the cost ($223M saved in training vs. $46M in costs), or for every dollar spent on Second Chance, industry got almost $5 dollars back.

Cost measures audits

Cost Measures - Audits

  • Expect a hump in Random positive rate after audit as testing gets better – random becomes more random.

  • And systems are generally brought into compliance

  • Good examples: Los Angeles, San Jose, Santa Fe


  • Random rate decreases as agency relaxes after audit


  • They go up the year of as agency readies for the audit



  • Expected result of Audits - Timeline

Goes up

as result of

better testing

(catch more users)



as result of

eliminating abusers

and causing abstinence

Actual audit effect

Actual Audit Effect

  • Drop in the right of the chart shows that audits are effective in discouraging and eliminating substance abusers

  • Audit cost is ~$25K. One user mitigated over one year saves ~$20K

Trends drug metabolization time and positive rates shows actual drug choices

Trends: Drug Metabolization Time and Positive Rates shows Actual Drug Choices

  • Program would seem to be pushing users away from THC (45 days to leave the system) and towards Cocaine (3 days to leave the system)

  • Expect that tests catch actual THC users at a rate 15 times higher than that of actual Cocaine users

    • Multiplying Cocaine rate by 15 gives equivalent actual comparable usage rate

  • Data shows that Cocaine use is 10 to 12 times higher than THC use

Actual usage comparison

Actual Usage Comparison

If Cocaine was testable out to

45 days – the chart would look like


Questions answers

Questions & Answers

Jerry Powers

will be available for


immediately following this presentation

Room 209-210

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