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2021 Substance Abuse Management Virtual Master Class: Effective Strategies for Employers for Safely Managing Changes to Cannabis and Drug Testing Laws - On-Demand

2021 Substance Abuse Management Virtual Master Class: Effective Strategies for Employers for Safely Managing Changes to Cannabis and Drug Testing Laws - On-Demand

Product Code: VEM05112021

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2021 Substance Abuse Management Virtual Master Class: Effective Strategies for Employers for Safely Managing Changes to Cannabis and Drug Testing Laws -

Now Available On-Demand.

Program Length: 8 hours

Recent state regulatory developments regarding medical and recreational marijuana have created a complex web of compliance concerns for employers as they try to navigate drug testing policymaking and substance abuse management in the workplace. As of Spring 2021, 17 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while 36 states, D.C., and the territories now permit the use and sale of medical cannabis products. At the federal level, President Joe Biden has pledged to legalize cannabis as part of his social justice initiatives, and this will be the game-changer that will create new obligations for employers under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

A sweeping opioid abuse epidemic further compounds substance abuse prevention challenges, requiring that employers maintain a delicate balance among business objectives, employee rights, and ADA requirements. Overdoses in the workplace can also have Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implications, as can exposing workers to the perils of impaired coworkers or contractors. OSHA will also likely be changing its policy (again) on when employers can legally drug test injured workers post-accident.

It's in an employer's best interest to be proactive on this issue. According to the National Safety Council, the estimated yearly economic impact of substance use disorders exceeds $400 billion. Employers in all industries assume a significant share of these costs in the form of absenteeism, increased healthcare expenses, lost productivity, and a higher risk of workplace injuries resulting from safety lapses. On the other end, each employee who recovers from a substance abuse disorder saves a company more than $3,200 a year.

This 2-day, comprehensive virtual master class will provide practical information on and strategies to address these sensitive and increasingly prevalent workplace issues.

You’ll learn:

  • Best practices and legal limits on drug testing;
  • Post-accident drug testing best practices and strategies to protect safety while avoiding retaliation scrutiny from OSHA;
  • How to address emerging safety, practical, and legal considerations surrounding medical and recreational marijuana use;
  • Steps you can take to address the health and safety concerns associated with both prescription and illegal opioids while respecting worker privacy under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other relevant laws; and
  • Ways you can leverage employee assistance plans and other benefit programs to prevent and combat addiction and provide resources to aid in recovery.

Registrants will have access for 60-days from purchase.

2021 Substance Abuse Management Virtual Master Class: Effective Strategies for Employers for Safely Managing Changes to Cannabis and Drug Testing Laws -


How, When, and Why You Should Drug Test: Legal Limits on Policy Development and Enforcement
This solutions-focused master class will kick off with a comprehensive overview of the current regulatory landscape concerning the legality of drug testing.

This session will examine:

  • When an employer may conduct drug testing on prospective and current employees—and why checking municipal statutes may be important;
  • The types of drug and alcohol testing methods that are permitted under the law, which are most accurate, and what they are likely to reveal;
  • The ins and outs of developing a comprehensive drug testing program designed to give you the information you need to make informed and legal hiring and other employment decisions;
  • Drug and alcohol testing policy essentials and instances when enforcement of zero-tolerance policy language may spark legal issues;
  • How to train supervisors and managers on reasonable suspicion and warning signs that someone might be under the influence;
  • The action plan for addressing a situation in which you suspect an employee is drunk or high at work; and
  • What to do if an applicant or a current employee demands to be retested because the test revealed a false positive result.

Post-Accident Drug Testing and Safety Incentive Programs: How to Comply with OSHA’s ‘Reasonable’ Reporting and Antiretaliation Provisions

OSHA’s controversial electronic recordkeeping rule codified an antiretaliation provision with serious implications for employer drug testing, incentive, and disciplinary programs, and under the Biden administration, the application of these policies is changing again! Certain types of post-incident drug testing may be considered illegal retaliation against employees who report injuries or safety concerns. Safety incentive programs that reward employees for the absence of injuries are another potential enforcement target. This session will cover your compliance obligations and best practices concerning post-incident drug and alcohol testing and incentive programs to help you assess your policies and ensure you stay on the right side of the line.

You’ll learn:

  • How to determine whether a post-accident drug test plays a valid role in root cause analysis;
  • When post-accident drug testing can constitute illegal retaliation under 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1904 and Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act;
  • How to balance safety and legal considerations surrounding post-accident drug testing;
  • OSHA’s treatment of employer drug-free workplace programs under workers’ compensation and other laws and the interaction with antiretaliation requirements;
  • Strategies for ensuring that your injury reporting procedures are reasonable and do not deter employees from reporting;
  • Tips for preventing retaliation issues and complaints through a culture of open communication; and
  • When a drug overdose may need to be reported to OSHA under Part 1904.

Medical and Recreational Marijuana at Work: Multistate Updates for Emerging Compliance Obligations

The majority of states now permit the sale and use of medical cannabis by qualified patients, shifting the “marijuana problem” perspective from one involving drug-abusing workers to one relating to patients using legal medication. The quandary has been the illegal status at the federal level, but that may be changing soon!

Employers nationwide are left struggling to fully understand how recently passed state laws legalizing recreational marijuana possession and use and other state laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana impact what they can and can’t do to monitor and restrict cannabis use or possession among their employees. This is particularly challenging for employers working in a multistate environment.

While marijuana is still illegal under federal law, 37 states (plus the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories) have passed legislation giving medical cannabis usage the green light. Meanwhile, 17 states (plus D.C. and several U.S. territories) have legalized recreational marijuana. More problematic is the addition of hidden provisions at the state, county, and local level placing constraints on how employers may drug test workers, including preemployment testing. How does the evolving legal landscape concerning medical and recreational marijuana affect employment policies on drug testing and off-duty conduct?

During this session, you’ll learn:

  • The changing legal landscape—where and when medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are legal in states around the country;
  • Best practices for federal contractors to follow with respect to drug testing and usage to ensure they do not jeopardize federal funding;
  • How state marijuana laws affect your federal compliance obligations under the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other agencies;
  • Which state laws explicitly include employee nondiscrimination protections addressing marijuana use;
  • How to address the off-duty use of marijuana;
  • How medical marijuana laws interact with unemployment- and workers’ compensation-related benefits;
  • What to do if an employee tests positive for marijuana usage; and
  • The role of fitness-for-duty and return-to-work evaluations and best practices for workplace safety.

Q&A with Presenter
Have lingering questions about points raised during the first day of this intensive workshop, or want to revisit a fundamental concept or two from earlier in the day? Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the presenter before you wrap up for the day.

The Opioid Epidemic: Steps You Can Take to Manage Effects, Combat Worker Addiction, and Limit Your Legal Liabilities
Opioids are a powerful class of drug, and usage has proven to result in debilitating addictions. Since 1999, the number of prescription opioids sold in the United States has quadrupled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has characterized the situation as an epidemic, and this crisis is particularly concerning for employers.

You have a duty to maintain a working environment that is “free from recognizable hazards … causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees” under the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause. Opioid use among your workers could have a serious impact on that environment.

Consider, too, that if an employee is injured on the job, he or she may be prescribed a powerful opioid to manage the pain. The longer the employee is on that medication, the greater the risk of addiction. What can your organization, your workers’ compensation carrier, and your medical providers do to minimize the risk of addiction when employees are taking prescribed drugs to manage chronic or acute pain?

During this session, you’ll learn:

  • Practical—and legal—steps you must take to anage the impact of the opioid epidemic;
  • Recent research showing why opioid usage is a serious cause for concern for employers nationwide;
  • The practical impact opioid usage can have on worker productivity and safety and when you have an obligation to take action under OSHA’s General Duty Clause;
  • Strategies to reduce the risk of employees becoming addicted to powerful opioid painkillers when they’re taking the drugs to cope with a workers’ compensation injury;
  • Best practices for effective treatment and management of pain that minimize the risk of opioid addiction;
  • Warning signs of a potential opioid addiction; and
  • How HR, safety, medical professionals, and workers’ compensation claims adjusters can take steps to help addicted workers manage their issues.

How Employee Benefit Programs, Including Workers’ Compensation, Health Insurance, and Employee Assistance Programs, Can Help Employees Recover from Addiction

The Department of Labor (DOL) has stepped up enforcement of mental health parity requirements for group health plans. This represents a growing effort to ensure that group health plans are in compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). This session will examine final MHPAEA rule requirements and the most common compliance trouble spots to watch out for, as well as practical strategies for using employee assistance plans to help addicted workers start and stay on the road to recovery. This session will also address recent development in the workers’ compensation area, favoring coverage for medical cannabis as an alternative to opiate use.

You’ll learn:

  • The most common ways MHPAEA violations occur with respect to substance abuse;
  • How to structure your employee assistance plan (EAP) to be HIPAA- and MHPAEA-compliant;
  • Useful strategies for getting employees to take advantage of EAP offerings that can help them manage substance abuse-related issues;
  • Workers’ compensation coverage of medical cannabis and related “return to work” issues; and
  • Communication strategies for talking to employees you are concerned may need professional help due to addiction and critical supervisor training.

Substance Abuse: The ADA, FMLA, and Related State Laws

The ADA, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and workers’ compensation are often viewed as the “treacherous triangle” when it comes to human relations practice and policy. This session will address the changing landscape of case law on how state disability laws are read in tandem with medical cannabis laws to expand worker protections and employer accommodation obligations; the role of FMLA leave (long-term and intermittent) in addressing substance abuse or accommodations; and what is on the horizon for further developments in OSHA and the DOL impacting substance abuse prevention.

You’ll learn:

  • Whether permitting medical marijuana usage may qualify as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA or analogous state laws,
  • What is involved with assertion of the “direct threat to safety” affirmative defense, and
  • How to address “safety-sensitive” positions and “essential functions” appropriately in job descriptions and advertisements to support critical employer defenses.

Q&A with Presenter
Have lingering questions about points raised during the first day of this intensive workshop, or want to revisit a fundamental concept or two from earlier in the day? Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the presenter before the master class concludes.

2021 Substance Abuse Management Virtual Master Class: Effective Strategies for Employers for Safely Managing Changes to Cannabis and Drug Testing Laws -


Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSPAdele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP
Law Offices of Adele L. Abrams P. C.
Firm President

Adele Abrams is an attorney, safety professional, and trainer who is president of the Law Office of Adele L. Abrams P.C. in Beltsville, MD, Charleston, WV, and Denver, CO, a multi-attorney firm focusing on safety, health and employment law nationwide. As a certified mine safety professional, Abrams provides consultation, safety audits and training services to MSHA and OSHA regulated companies.

Abrams is a regular columnist for numerous magazines on legal, employment, mine, and occupational safety/health issues, and is coauthor of several books related to mining, construction, employment law, and occupational safety and health.

She is a member of the Maryland, DC and Pennsylvania Bars, the U.S. District Courts of Maryland, DC and Tennessee, the U.S. Court of Appeals, DC, 3rd and 4th Circuits, and the United States Supreme Court. She is a graduate of the George Washington University’s National Law Center and earned her B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Her professional memberships include the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, the Industrial Minerals Association-North America, and the American Bar Association. In 2017, she received the NSC’s Distinguished Service to Safety Award.

2021 Substance Abuse Management Virtual Master Class: Effective Strategies for Employers for Safely Managing Changes to Cannabis and Drug Testing Laws -


What computer set-up do I need to attend this class?
This will be hosted on the GoToMeeting platform. Attendees should have access to a computer that has a microphone and speakers to participate, there is also an option to dial-in over a phone line if you need to connect on your phone. You can read the full system requirements for GoToMeeting by visiting You can also test your system by visiting

2021 Substance Abuse Management Virtual Master Class: Effective Strategies for Employers for Safely Managing Changes to Cannabis and Drug Testing Laws -

Credit Information

SAFETY CREDIT INFORMATION: This webinar qualifies for 0.5 Recertification Points for CSPs, CHSTs, OHSTs, 1 CMP credit for CHMMs, and eligible for CM credits for CIHs who attend. Professional Development Hours (PDHs) or Continuing Education Credits/Units (CECs/CEUs) may also be available for environmental managers participating in this webinar (please note that webinar participants are responsible for exploring their state requirements to have their educational credits approved for credit).

HR Certification Institute HRCI
SHRM Preferred Provider

CREDIT INFORMATION: HRCI® ( official seal confirms that BLR®—Business & Learning Resources meets the criteria for preapproved recertification credit(s) for any of HRCI’s eight credentials, including SPHR® and PHR®.”

This program has been approved for 7 (HR (General)) recertification credit Approved Provider toward aPHR®, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification through the HRCI.”
These credits expire 12/31/21.

BLR®—Business & Learning Resources is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). This program is valid for 7 PDCs. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit”
The on-demand credits expire 12/31/21.