PALAU SENATORS OFFER TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE, TAKE DRUG TEST

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KOROR, Palau (March 1, 2000 - Palau Horizon/PINA Nius Online,)---In light of Palau’s worsening drug problem, senators say they will undergo a drug test and set an example for all government officials and employees.

Senate President Seit Andres said the senators reached the consensus decision during a recent executive meeting.

After becoming Senate President, Andres presented a nine-point legislative agenda, which includes the need to address the drug problem in Palau.

Andres said parents, teachers and even students had complained about the worsening drug problem in the country.

"Despite severe penalties put in place, the problem has worsened, affecting mostly high school students," Andres said.

Drug law enforcement efforts are considered weak.

Senate Floor Leader Sandra Pierantozzi, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Social Welfare, will make arrangements with the Department of Public Health for the administration of the drug tests as soon as possible.

The Senate leadership is also considering including the Senate staff in the drug testing, but only on a voluntary basis.

"It’s about time we set an example," Andres said. "We hope our counterparts in the House of Delegates will do the same."

Asked what the Senate leadership would do if one of the members is found to be taking drugs, Andres said that has not been decided yet.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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