GovGuam Drug Test Data Unreported For Decades, Crippling Program Evaluation

Departments cite lack of capacity/manpower

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News,June 27, 2016) – For more than 20 years, the government has not been filing statistical reports about drug tests as outlined in the 1995 Drug-Free Workplace Program procedure.

When the government of Guam established its Drug-Free Workplace Program in 1995, it included a section under “Records and Reports” for statistical information to be submitted quarterly. The reports are also to be included in the Department of Administration’s annual report to the governor.

Since December 1995, more than 75 statistical reports should have been compiled and submitted to the Administration's drug program specialist.

Since December 1995, no statistical reports have been compiled or submitted to the administration or the governor, according to the Department of Administration.

Phillip Blas, spokesman for the department, said there are drug-free workplace coordinators assigned in each of the government agencies. These coordinators are responsible for compiling the data to give to the administration department.

“We haven’t generated those reports because they are supposed to be submitted by the departments,” Blas said. “They haven’t submitted and we don’t have enough staff to follow up.”

Blas said the organization also has not been reminding agency coordinators to turn in the data. “We are really short-staffed and underfunded,” he said.

Going forward, Blas said the department will try to collect the information from agencies, but the information may not be delivered completely or be delivered right away.

In the drug-free procedures, it states drug testing information for specific GovGuam employees are to be confidential. However, coordinators are supposed to assemble statistical data without employee names so the information is anonymous.

The reports should consist of how many drug tests were administered that quarter, the number of verified positive test results by test and drug, the number of employees referred for voluntary drug counseling, the number of disciplinary actions and the number of employees who successfully complete rehabilitation under the government’s Employee Assistance Program.

With the information in the statistical report, the governor may use it to evaluate the program or determine what changes are required, and use it to request for any additional funding, the procedure states.

GovGuam employs more than 11,000 people, according to the latest Department of Labor statistics. In recent years, some employees in various departments have tested positive for drugs. Recently, two Department of Public Health and Social Services employees were arrested in connection with drug cases, according to Pacific Daily News files.

A police officer tested positive for amphetamine in 2015 and resigned.

Employees working for Speaker Judith Won Pat and Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz were tested in 2013, after a former Cruz staffer was arrested for alleged drug possession that same year. All the employees’ drug tests came back with negative results for amphetamines, methamphetamines, cocaine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and opiates, news files state.

Department of Public Health and Social Services Director James Gillan said in an earlier interview that the department conducted random drug tests for employees under the Testing Designated Position list in 2011, which turned up negative results.

Employees on this list are given 30-day notice of potential to be tested. Other employees may be tested if there is reasonable suspicion. Gillan has said in an earlier interview that this reasonable suspicion testing requires a process of documentation.

The Department of Administration’s Drug-Free Workplace Program coordinator, Judith Gagan, and the department’s personnel services administrator, Shane Ngata, were unavailable for comment and were not available to meet as of press time, despite several requests for a meeting.

According to the administration's job description for the Drug-Free Workplace Program, the program coordinator is responsible for, among other duties, to “prepare all documentation and reports on the (Drug-Free Workplace Program) following the requirements of the operating procedures.”

The job description also notes that the coordinator has to have minimum knowledge of the program’s laws, regulations, policies and procedures and the ability to maintain records and prepare reports.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment