Crowd of 800+ Will Gather to Discuss Issues Impacting Drug and Alcohol Testing

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In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic and sweeping marijuana legalization, drug testing professionals and employers will gather to network and learn from top industry icons and government officials at the annual conference of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association, May 22-24, 2018, in New Orleans, LA.

“By testing for illegal opioid and marijuana use within the workplace, employers are protecting their employees and their companies”, said Laura Shelton, Executive Director for the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA).

The Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA), the premier association for professionals involved in drug and alcohol testing, is gearing up for its 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition – “Big Ideas in the Big Easy” (DATIA 2018) being held May 22-24, 2018 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, in New Orleans, LA. More than 800 are expected to attend to discuss topics such as legalized marijuana, the opioid abuse crisis, and recent regulatory and legislative changes that impact the industry and employers.

Two of the most pressing issues making an impact today are the nationwide opioid epidemic and legalized marijuana. With U.S. deaths linked to opioids quadrupling since 2000 to roughly 42,000 in 2016, and most states legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana use in some way or another, there will certainly be a lot to talk and learn about at the event.

“The abuse of opioids and use of marijuana by workers within the United States is staggering, and the workplace is a perfect place to use established programs to identify and get people who need treatment the help they deserve,” said DATIA’s Executive Director, Laura Shelton.

“However, many employers are confused about whether or not they can or should test for these drugs and DATIA wants to help drug free workplace professionals prepare their messaging to enable employers to overcome this dilemma. Employers must understand that not only do they have a right to test, but they also have an obligation to keep all of their employees safe by maintaining a drug-free workplace”, she said.

“By testing for illegal opioid and marijuana use within the workplace, employers are protecting their employees and their companies,” said Shelton.

Representatives from several Federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and more will be present to provide information on recent regulatory changes.

Hundreds of industry professionals and employers will be able to compare products and services first-hand from more than 70 on-site exhibitors in the event’s expo hall. Attendees can receive comprehensive information on the latest technological breakthroughs being made in drug and alcohol testing, and what these changes mean for both providers and end-users of drug and alcohol testing.

“The expo is where new technologies are introduced, where best practices are shared, and where connections are made,” said Shelton. “It is the pulse of this three-day event.”

The prescription drug epidemic, synthetic drugs, and the new Administration’s response to issues impacting the industry will also be key topics of discussion during sessions at the conference.

For the complete schedule, session descriptions or to register, for this year’s conference and expo, visit

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Laura Shelton, CMP
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