Substance Abuse Exam Considerations

Item 47: FAA Policy for Airmen with Mental Health Conditions

Apr 2014

Guidance is compiled and interpreted by professional pilots and physicians at from the 2014 AME Guide page 150, FAA and FDA web data ( &, instructions specified in the Aeronautical Information Manual, Federal Air Surgeon Bulletins from 1999-2015, and 14 CFR Part 61 and Part 67 (the FARs).

FAA Considerations - Aerospace Medical Dispositions
Item 47. Psychiatric Conditions - Substance Abuse

Substance abuse includes the use of the above substances under any one of the following conditions:

  1. Use of a substance in the last 2 years in which the use was physically hazardous (e.g., DUI or DWI) if there has been at any other time an instance of the use of a substance also in a situation in which the use was physically hazardous;
  2. If a person has received a verified positive drug test result under an anti-drug program of the Department of Transportation or one of its administrations; or
  3. The Federal Air Surgeon finds that an applicant's misuse of a substance makes him or her unable to safely perform the duties or exercise the privileges of the airman certificate applied for or held, or that may reasonably be expected, for the maximum duration of the airman medical certificate applied for or held, to make the applicant unable to perform those duties or exercise those privileges.

Substance dependence and substance abuse are specified as disqualifying medical conditions.

This page discussed the Substance Abuse portion of the Psychiatric section of the Fight Physical Examination required of pilots.

Reminder: use to familiarize yourself with aviation medical regulations and guidelines, but always discuss your specific situation with one or more AMEs before dedicating resources toward expensive clinical workups. Find an AME now