What medications can cost you your CDL?

As a truck driver, your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is your livelihood, so it is important to know which drugs –both legal and illegal — might put your career in jeopardy.

Illegal Drugs

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires truck drivers to take pre-employment drug tests that screen for the following substances:
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines (Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA)
  • Opioids (Codeine, Morphine, Heroin, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone,
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
If you test positive for any of the drugs listed above, you could be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle. It’s important to note that even though marijuana use has been legalized in many states, it remains illegal on a federal level.

Medications That Could Cost You Your CDL

There are some medications that can be legally prescribed by a physician or that could also disqualify you from keeping your CDL.

Some of these medications are defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation as Schedule I drugs and the list includes opiates, opium derivatives, hallucinogenic drugs, some depressants and stimulants, or Cannabimimetic agents (synthetic marijuana).

If you are prescribed a medication that is either on the DOT’s Schedule I list or is an amphetamine, a narcotic, or any other habit forming drug, you are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle unless the prescribing physician provides your DOT medical examiner with a letter giving you clearance to drive. Even then, it is up to the DOT medical examiner — not the prescribing physician — to determine whether the drug disqualifies you from operating a commercial motor vehicle.

Medications That Are Never Allowed, Even With Waiver

  • Methadone
  • Medical Marijuana
  • CBD Products That Contain THC
  • Kratom
  • Any Anti-seizure Medication

Common Medications That Pose Potential Problems But Could Be Approved On a Case-By Case Basis

*Not a comprehensive list.
  • Xanax
  • Adderall
  • Norco
  • Klonopin
  • Oxycodone
  • Tramadol
  • Lunesta
  • Ambien
  • Flexeril
  • Paxil
  • Imitrex
  • Zonisamide
  • Lorazepam
  • Provigil

To view the full list of Schedule I drugs, please click here.

To learn more from the FMCSA on what drugs can disqualify a CMV driver, please click here.

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Dr. Channing C. Bolick, D.C.
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Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination