Industry Insights

Drug Testing Policies, Focus on Marijuana

A Day with DISA was DISA Global Solutions’ first annual drug testing symposium and it welcomed a number of industry experts to present on trending topics and advice for drug testing policies. Employers were able to get a better understanding of the marijuana laws within their state that affect their drug testing programs and hear firsthand why it’s important to create a customized policy to protect their business and employees. 

If you didn’t get the opportunity to attend the Day with DISA conference, or if you would like to review this presentation again, you can download or watch it using the link below.

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Nina French, Managing Partner for the Current Consulting Group, presented “Drug Testing Policies, Focus on Marijuana,” which discussed proposed marijuana laws and what legislation may be coming in the near future. Nina also talked employers through how they can prepare their drug testing policies so that they meet compliance standards.

Nina adds, “You need to be thinking about the technology that’s available, you need to be thinking about the laws, you need to be thinking about drug disclosure laws, and you need to be writing all of those things in your policy and really making some informed decisions about why you’re doing drug testing in the first place.”


What can employers do?

When designing a program, employers should define safety-sensitive roles and provide detailed job descriptions to employees. These detailed job descriptions, coupled with a prescription drug disclosure policy, or Medical Disclosure Policy, can reduce your risk by requiring employees to notify you before starting any prescriptions that might impair their ability to work safely. It is highly recommended to expand your lab panel to include prescription drugs, make sure your drug tests are read by an MRO, and communicate regularly to your employees what the drug testing policy covers.

Nina further expands on these 5 steps for a safer workplace in her presentation, common issues with each step, and how to overcome them.


  • A clearly written policy
  • Employee education
  • Supervisor training
  • An employee assistance program
  • Drug Testing
Group Learning

Nina stressed that it was important to look at drug testing as an investment, not an expense, and noted the following statistics:


  • The 2016 Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, Facing Addiction in America revealed that an excess of $400 billion annually is lost by companies due to employees’ substance abuse
  • Substance use disorder treatment is effective and has a positive economic impact. It is estimated that every dollar spent on substance use disorder treatment saves companies $4 in health care costs.
  • Substance abusers perform at only 67% of their potential – making them 1/3 less productivethan their non-substance abusing co-workers – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


With the everchanging marijuana laws varying state-by-state, employers might find it difficult to keep up with the changes, but it’s vital to ensure that your drug testing policies focus on the legalization of marijuana for the protection of the company. Nina commented, “You want to be active with legislation, with what’s happening, and what’s legal. You need to know what’s up, who’s funding it, what they’re doing, and what it’s going to cost you in both hard costs and soft costs as an employer.”

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Read about other presentations from Day with DISA:



About DISA

For more than 30 years, DISA has been a provider of workplace safety and compliance services. DISA helps companies make more informed staffing decisions by offering a broad array of industry-leading methodologies to make employee screening faster and more accurate. For more information about DISA call 1-800-752-6432 or email sales@disa.com.