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AG: Random Drug Testing Illegal

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The Attorney General of Guam has called the random drug testing of government employees illegal. AG Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson said the tests are in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. 

Her determination comes in response to a request made by public safety committee chair Senator Telena Nelson. Nelson asked the AG’s office for legal advice, as she intended to introduce legislation that would authorize GovGuam to execute random drug testing. 

However, the random tests must be based on reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, and any violation of that would offend constitutional protections, Barrett-Anderson said.  "In order to pass constitutional muster, the government employer has the burden of demonstrating a 'special need' to conduct suspicionless searches beyond crime detection," she added.

“In recent months, Guam has revived its effort to rid our island of the drug epidemic on our streets, in our homes, in our prisons, and just about everywhere we turn. We should not throw out constitutional protections in an effort to accomplish our worthy mission,” she said. “While drug testing can be a deterrence for drug use, suspicionless drug testing is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

The AG, however, does note that designated government positions such as police, police guards, drug counselors, and aviation workers are not protected under the Fourth Amendment. 

Governor Eddie Calvo has since tasked Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio to lead the war on the drugs effort, which also required all executive branch agencies to step-up drug tests and sweeps to reinforce the need for a safe work environment within GovGuam.

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