Employee Drug Testing:

A Single Agency Is Needed to Manage Federal Employee Drug Testing

GGD-91-25: Published: Jan 18, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 15, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined how 18 federal agencies implemented their employee drug testing programs to determine whether centralized management could improve the administration of such programs.

GAO found that: (1) no single federal agency was responsible for overseeing the implementation of all federal employee drug testing efforts; (2) only 6 of the agencies fully implemented all required aspects of their drug testing programs; (3) other agencies did not test employees because of lack of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) certification, court injunctions, and union negotiations; (4) disciplinary actions for employees who tested positive varied among agencies; (5) the percentage of sensitive positions designated for random drug testing among agencies ranged from .8 to 100 percent of the total work force and the testing frequency ranged from 4 to 100 percent of such employees per year; (6) agencies paid from $8.90 to over $87 for the same drug testing services; (7) two agencies failed to comply with quality assurance procedures; (8) 11 of the agencies failed to submit required reports to Congress; and (9) HHS failed to notify all federal agencies of a problem in distinguishing a legal form of methamphetamine from an illegal one.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB designated the Office of National Drug Control Policy as the agency that will manage federal employee drug testing.

    Recommendation: The Director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), should take the action necessary to have a single federal agency designated for managing federal employee drug testing. In choosing an agency to assume this responsibility, a determination should be made as to which agency is in the best position to provide overall program guidance and to monitor all aspects of agency drug testing operations.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget


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