Pubdate: Tue, 01 Feb 2005
Source: Saipan Tribune (US MP)
Copyright: 2005 Saipan Tribune
Author: Shan Seman
Bookmark: (Drug Test)


Eight government employees tested positive during random drug tests 
conducted by the Office of Personnel Management in 2004.

Alcohol and Drug Free Workplace coordinator Frannie Salas disclosed that, 
of the eight that tested positive, six sought rehabilitation at the 
Community Guidance Center and were certified to return to duty, while one 
resigned and another was terminated.

The eight were identified from a total of 111 drug tests conducted on 
Saipan, Tinian, and Rota last year.

Individuals were tested for the presence of cocaine, marijuana, opiates, 
amphetamines, and phencyclidine in their urine.

Salas said drug tests are performed on "safety sensitive employees" such as 
law enforcement officers and bus drivers, among others.

Salas said that once an individual tests positive, he or she may choose to 
file an appeal with the Civil Service Commission, which would set up a hearing.

Those testing positive are also urged to seek rehabilitation. Those who do 
not seek rehabilitation are subject to termination.

Salas said "safety sensitive" employees are listed in OPM's alcohol and 
drug testing database. The employees are selected randomly and those 
selected are notified.

Random tests are done on a quarterly basis, and Salas indicated that an 
average of about 60 tests are conducted per quarter.

"We're trying to increase the tests so we can get a better number of the 
government employees," Salas said.

Salas indicated that all tests must be conducted at laboratories certified 
by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Our policy requires that labs that we use are certified," she said.

Tests cost about $35.50 and results may be expected within seven working 
days from the time it was conducted.

Meanwhile, 837 drug tests were conducted for pre-employment applicants, 
including government appointees and government employees involved in 
vehicular accidents.

OPM policy indicates that no new Civil Service candidate may be assigned to 
work in any position until the individual presents results of a urine test 
taken after the offer of employment.

Salas said 11 applicants, none of which were appointees or individuals 
involved in accidents, tested positive and their applications were 
withdrawn. She said one was certified as non-substance abuse as the 
substance was part of the applicant's medication.

Salas said the ADFW also produces a quarterly newsletter that informs 
employees of policies, facts about drugs and alcohol and their effects, as 
well as health and wellness issues.

"We're limited in ways to reach the employees, and this is one way of doing 
so," she said.
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