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By Tanya M. C. Mendiola

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (October 9, 2000 - Pacific Daily News/PINA Nius Online)---Random drug testing for Guam government employees continues, with 1,676 of about 1,800 staffers already tested.

Employees tested are those deemed essential employees, including bus drivers, directors, deputy directors and public safety and medical personnel.

Tests began during the summer as part of the 1996 drug-free workplace initiative. So far, 27 employees have tested positive for drug use, said Cecilia Martinez, Department of Administration personnel division acting administrator.

The administration department would like to test workers monthly, she said, but doing so depends on each agency's budget.

"We are asking for (testing) on a monthly basis," she said. "We have sent out letters informing the departments about the testing, and we told them to budget for it."

Each department pays for its employee testing: $27.50 for initial screening and confirmation test, Martinez said.

However, not all departments may be able to afford to test on a monthly basis, Martinez said, so they are being given the option of alternating employee testing.

Of those who tested positive, seven are employed with the Guam Waterworks Authority, seven at the Guam Fire Department, six with the Department of Public Works, four for the Port Authority of Guam, and one each at the departments of labor, public health and social services and youth affairs.

The chemical screening tests for the use of five types of drugs: amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates and phencyclidine, or PCP, Martinez said.

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