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Tenorio comments on cracking down on workplace drugs

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It is a violation of their Constitutional rights to subject government employees to random drug tests, except for certain positions - that was the opinion released Tuesday by the Attorney General in response to a request by Legislature's public safety chair, freshman senator Telena Nelson.

Senator Nelson had requested the opinion to ensure that legislation she was considering on drug testing would comply with federal law.  But In an opinion memorandum, AG Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson wrote that random, suspicion-less drug testing violates the fourth amendment, which protects individuals from unreasonable government searches.

Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio heads the Mandana Drug Task Force that is trying to crack down on the local drug scene, and also maintain a drug-free public workplace. He says he supports the protection of individual rights, but, "I also recognize that we as a government have a responsibility to look at the policies and the laws in relationship to the interests, the compelling public interests, to make sure we're protecting our community from people who are using drugs."  

Tenorio says there are exceptions to the law that prohibits suspicion-less drug testing. There are certain so-called test designated positions such as law enforcement, or those that handle highly sensitive information. He wants to do a comprehensive review to identify all those who can be randomly tested.

"If a government employee thinks he's going to get caught doing drugs because there is a greater chance of being drug-tested, than that will reduce the demand and reduce the supply of drugs, and that's good for everyone in our community," he added.

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