Employee Drug Testing:

Agency Costs May Vary From Earlier Estimates

GGD-89-75: Published: May 30, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO analyzed the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) cost estimates for civilian cabinet-level departments' proposed drug testing programs.

GAO found that OMB program guidance: (1) specified a dollar amount for estimating costs of specimen collection, drug testing, personnel, and quality control; (2) based those estimates on the cost information it had available at the time it issued the guidance; (3) allowed agencies to use alternative assumptions to its figures in developing cost estimates; (4) included cost estimates which did not adequately reflect the influence on individual agencies of such factors as employee location and resource availability; and (5) did not recommend specific dollar amounts for employee education or program administration. GAO also found that: (1) most agencies applied the proposed OMB figures in developing program cost estimates; (2) agency size and drug testing program size accounted for differences among agencies' total estimated costs; and (3) agencies' estimated costs for employee education and program administration ranged widely, even after accounting for variations in agency or drug testing program size. GAO believes that: (1) most agency programs are not yet sufficiently developed to determine the overall direction and magnitude of program costs in relation to OMB estimates; and (2) Congress may wish to direct agencies to track and report actual program costs.

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