In its order, the aviation safety regulator noted that the worldwide spread of use of psychoactive substances. Their general availability, and the increasing number of addicted users was a “serious concern to aviation safety”.
Last year, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit India. The DGCA had issued draft rules where it proposed to set up diagnostic infrastructure to conduct the tests.
Since January 31, they will test the flight crew members and air traffic controllers in India for psychoactive substances such as cannabis and cocaine-. As per new rules notified by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
However, the regulator came out with another set of draft rules a few weeks ago, in which it left the responsibility of conducting the tests to the airlines and the air traffic services provider on the lines of breath alcohol testing.
In India, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is responsible for air traffic services.
Scheduled commercial airlines and air navigation service providers will have to carry out random drug-testing of at least 10% of the flight crew members. Air traffic controllers employed by them every year, according to the rules.
Commercial aircraft operators, maintenance and repair organisations, flying training organisations, and air navigation service providers will have to carry out drug tests before employing any person or admitting a trainee pilot.
These organisations will also have to test, at the first available opportunity, all those aviation personnel. They have refused a drug test to a foreign regulator during flight operations to that country.
They will test Aviation workers for psychoactive substances such as amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, opiates, barbiturates, and benzodiazepine.
According to the rules: “The organization shall subject such employees to rehabilitation process before return to active duty. They will report number of such cases to DGCA on a six-month basis.”
They will report any positive test to the DGCA within 24 hours.
In case the report of a drug test is “non-negative”. They will remove the employee immediately from duty till they receive a confirmatory report.
If the confirmatory test — which is being done for the first time. It 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.
They will suspend the licence of a worker if they found positive in a drug test for the second time during work
If someone tests positive for a third time, they will cancel their licence.
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