Federal Employee Drug Testing

Gao ID: T-GGD-87-18 May 20, 1987

GAO discussed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) guidelines for establishing a drug-free federal work place and the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) technical guidelines for drug-testing programs. GAO believes that: (1) the OPM guidelines broadly define employees who may be tested; (2) agencies have great latitude in interpreting the OPM guidelines, which may lead to inconsistent application; (3) the HHS guidelines do not adequately define which drugs agencies should test for; (4) the OPM guidelines leave great latitude for agencies to determine appropriate disciplinary action after a positive test; (5) the OPM guidelines are unclear as to whether agencies may submit test results to law enforcement agencies; (6) the HHS guidelines would allow testing laboratories with poor performance to continue testing while under investigation; (7) both sets of guidelines fail to consider Privacy Act and Rehabilitation Act implications; (8) neither set of guidelines provides for centralized oversight of drug testing; and (9) while both sets of guidelines provide some insight into potential cost elements of drug testing programs, the wide latitude that the guidelines allow makes it difficult to estimate program costs.

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