The most common drug-related referral for an aviation psychiatry assessment is a PART 120 POSITIVE DRUG TEST.

Part 120 tests are administered in accordance with the Department of Transportation (DOT) rules and regulations. Part 120 tests include no-notice random, pre-employment, post-accident, and for-cause tests.

(Alcohol is also screened in a Part 120 test. We are only discussing non-alcohol related substance issues on this page)

A positive on-duty DOT Part 120 test is a serious violation of multiple regulations and will require the pilot to have an aviation psychiatric evaluation. The pilot can also expect that the FAA will, on an emergency basis, revoke medical certification. Pilot licenses may also be revoked.

The FAA is a federal agency and follows the federal interpretation of what counts as an illegal drug. MARIJUANA in all forms is a DEA Class I drug.

It doesn’t matter if your state has medicalized, decriminalized, or legalized marijuana. If you have a positive cannabis/marijuana test, you have tested positive for an illegal drug according to the FAA.

If you used a CBD-containing product and had a positive test for THC, The FAA does not have to prove that you used cannabis. The verified drug test alone establishes Substance Abuse according to regulation 67.107(b)(2).

DOT+ tests by regulation require an SAP evaluation. More likely than not, the FAA will also require a HIMS Psychiatric evaluation.


Traffic violations connected to the use of illegal drugs may cause the pilot a few more complications with the FAA than an alcohol-related traffic violation. I am not making an argument that drug-impaired driving is higher or lower-risk than alcohol-related driving. It all depends on the individual circumstance of your case. But, if you have a drug-related traffic stop, the FAA interprets that you

  • may have possessed an illegal drug
  • may have used an illegal drug
  • may have used an illegal drug in a way that was dangerous to yourself and the public

The records you need for a drug-related traffic offense are the same as for a DUI/DWAI.