Aviation employees to be tested for drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy: Draft DGCA rules

New Delhi, Aug 25 (PTI) Aviation personnel, including flight crew members, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance engineers, will be tested by their employers for psychoactive substances such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy, according to the draft rules issued by aviation regulator DGCA on Wednesday.

“The worldwide spread of use of psychoactive substances, their general availability and the ever-increasing number of addicted users is a serious concern to aviation safety,” the draft rules mentioned.

Airlines and air navigation service providers will have to carry out random drug-testing of at least five per cent of the flight crew members and air traffic controllers employed by them every year, stated the draft rules of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The draft rules mentioned that commercial aircraft operators, maintenance and repair organisations, flying training organisations and air navigation service providers will also have to carry out drug tests before employing any person or admitting a trainee pilot.

These organisations will also have to test all those aviation personnel — at the first available opportunity — who have refused a drug test to a foreign regulator during flight operations to that country, the draft rules stated.

All aforementioned aviation workers will be tested for the following psychoactive substances — amphetamine, methamphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepine and MDMA or ecstasy.

Whenever an aviation personnel is found positive in a drug test, the DGCA has to be informed within 24 hours.

Aviation sector companies should encourage their employees for self-declaration regarding use of psychoactive substance, the draft rules mentioned.

“Such employees shall be subjected to rehabilitation process by the organisation before return to active duty. Number of such cases shall be reported to DGCA on a six-month basis,” the rules said.

In case the report of a drug test is positive, the employee will be immediately removed from duty till a confirmatory report is received, the draft rules mentioned.

If the confirmatory test — which is being done for the first time — is also positive, then the employee will be referred to a de-addiction centre by the organisation for a de-addiction and rehabilitation programme.

“Such an employee shall return to active duties after again having undergone the tests for the consumption of the psychoactive substance with a negative test report. In addition, clearance by treating psychiatrist and the certification by the medical in-charge of the organisation concerned shall be required,” the rules stated.

If a personnel is found positive in a drug test for the second time during work, his or her licence will be suspended for three years and it will be cancelled if a personnel tests positive for a third time.