Employee Drug Testing:

Status of Federal Agencies' Programs

GGD-91-70: Published: May 6, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of federal agencies' drug testing programs and provided information on: (1) approval and implementation of program plans; (2) personnel subject to testing; (3) the drugs for which agencies tested; (4) program costs; and (5) testing results.

GAO found that a 1986 executive order and subsequent legislation required: (1) the Office of Personnel Management to issue governmentwide guidance for agencies to use in preparing drug testing plans, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to promulgate scientific and technical guidance to be used by all executive agencies in carrying out their drug testing operations, and the Department of Justice to provide legal service; (2) the head of each executive agency to establish a program for testing employees in sensitive positions and for voluntary employee drug testing; and (3) HHS to specify the drugs for which individuals can be tested. GAO also found that: (1) HHS required agencies to test for marijuana and cocaine, and authorized agencies to test for opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine; (2) many agencies had not yet begun testing because their programs had just been approved; (3) testing designated positions and testing frequency varied among agencies; (4) program cost estimates that agencies submitted to Congress could differ from the actual costs incurred when agencies fully implemented testing programs; and (5) 40 agencies that submitted reports for the 6-month period that ended September 30, 1990 reported that 169 tests out of a total of 31,259 tests had positive results.

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