Failed a DISA Drug Test

You Failed a DISA Drug Test: What Comes Next

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When a contractor or employee fails a drug test from DISA, there are some serious consequences that result. A failed DISA drug test marks the beginning of a chain of events required to reinstate you in your career and get you ready for a return to duty.

What can you expect from the fallout after you test positive? What is the best part forward if you have failed a DISA drug test?

The best course of action if you know you’ll fail a hair test is to submit to drug and alcohol treatment as soon as possible. At Icarus Behavioral Health, we help you stay sober while you reside in a comfortable and accredited facility. As always, reach out to us with any questions about enrollment in our program.

Keep reading to learn more about what comes next, and how to overcome a failed drug test for DISA and get back to work.

What Does a Failed DISA Drug Test Mean for Your Career?

DISA Drug Test

Drug and alcohol testing is significant for many industries that are tasked with ensuring the safety of large groups of people. Most notably, the Department of Transportation (DOT) utilizes DISA tests to ensure that drivers refrain from substance use that could endanger themselves or other drivers.

If you fail a DISA test, you are removed from your current position indefinitely until you can follow some of these steps. What should you anticipate if you have a failed drug test?

Suspension of License Until Return to Duty Testing

The most immediate issue with a failed DISA drug test is the possibility of a license suspension. If you work for the DOT or in another field where safety is paramount, they can’t take risks on what drug use could mean for the population at large. As a result, your license will be suspended indefinitely.

This doesn’t always happen, but you should be aware of the risk. Some of it will depend upon company policy and the specific position you hold. When a license suspension occurs, you can get it reinstated by following the steps below.

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Treatment and Education Program Enrollment for a Failed Drug Test

Because those who are subject to DISA testing are usually in safety-related positions or a governmental employee, their positive tests are handled with extra consequences. If you want to return to work in your industry then you must undergo a treatment and education program with Substance Abuse Professionals.

This might mean an initial medical detox program to eliminate substances from your system under the watchful eye of a team of medical professionals. Many people benefit from inpatient treatment after their initial detox period. It will take thirty to ninety days to complete one of these programs, and Icarus offers a range of effective behavioral health treatment programs.

Graduation from your program is required before you can submit to return-to-duty testing.

Return-to-Duty Drug and Alcohol Testing to Reinstate Your Job

The first thing you’ll have to do if you fail an alcohol or drug test procedure is submit to return to duty testing. These tests must be issued by Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs). These tests are ongoing for up to five years, so you should choose your team wisely.

Make sure they provide the support necessary for you to stick with sobriety.

Many workers who fail these drug tests may want to submit to attend a drug or alcohol rehab to clearly demonstrate a commitment to living a substance-free lifestyle. Icarus Behavioral Health can help to find the programs that are the right fit for you.

Failed a DISA Drug Test Entails Random Testing for 12 Months

Testing for 12 Months

While there are some specific circumstances when DISA drug testing is used, anyone who fails a test is going to be subject to more random testing. In other words, you won’t be notified of upcoming tests or screenings. Plus, they must be taken under direct supervision.

You will find that you have to take more tests than usual if you have a failed DISA test, so be prepared to defend your sobriety.

Required Follow-Up Evaluations

Once you graduate from a substance abuse treatment program, you aren’t completely over the hurdle of being able to return to work. Follow-up evaluations are required which typically means that inpatient is just the first step of many in your recovery from substance misuse.

You may choose to enroll in partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient programs to satisfy some of the requirements. This enables you to receive help for substance use during the day and return to your family, home, and possibly even your job in your off time.

Does a Positive Test Stay on Your Record?

According to DISA’s drug testing policies, there is no way to remove the results if you test positive on a routine drug test. While you can retest in order to make a return to duty, some employers feature a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to illicit substances. Therefore, they will always have access to previous tests.

What Kind of Drug Testing Does DISA Use?

Hair follicle drug test

The most common type of testing DISA utilizes is the hair follicle drug test. This enables them to see a much longer detection window that looks at the past ninety days or so. It may show longer periods if you are a chronic or heavy user of certain substances.

The hair follicle test is designed to be a more accurate representation of the history of your substance use. Of course, they might also order urinalysis or blood testing during the hiring process to flush out more immediate drug use.

It’s also important to know exactly what substances DISA is testing for. Here are the drugs that show up on the hair test:

If you know that you’ve taken an illegal substance like those listed above and they aren’t part of your prescription medication, it might be best to submit to treatment as soon as possible. This ensures that you’re being proactive and might help you avoid a license suspension and some of the other harsher consequences of a failed DISA test.

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When Does DISA Testing Take Place

Sometimes, you can anticipate when you will be tested and can come clean about your substance use even before the test comes back positive. Companies who adhere to these tests typically use them in these circumstances:

  • Pre-employment screenings: An employer can request drug testing as part of your screening before they offer you a position.
  • Random test: All employees can be tested at any time for drug and alcohol use.
  • Reasonable cause: Companies who suspect someone may be under the influence have the right to test as soon as they have a suspicion.
  • Post-accident testing: If something goes awry such as a vehicle accident, you will have to submit to a post-accident drug test.

Avoid Positive Drug Testing Results and Stay on Duty with Icarus

Reach out to caring Admissions team

The DISA report on your history of substance use is significant because it provides insight into whether you can safely perform job duties. If you need help with substance use issues, then enroll in residential treatment programs like those offered by Icarus Behavioral Health.

We can help you take the first steps toward sobriety in a comfortable facility where you learn about why you turn to substances and what you can do instead. Get answers to your questions in a quick, private phone call about our programs. Our enrollment team is ready and waiting to hear from you today!

Rest assured, all calls are kept strictly confidential, so please reach out to our caring Admissions team to get support options with us now.


  1. Gryczynski, J., Schwartz, R. P., Mitchell, S. G., O’Grady, K. E., & Ondersma, S. J. (2014). Hair drug testing results and self-reported drug use among primary care patients with moderate-risk illicit drug use. Drug and alcohol dependence, 141, 44–50.

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