Guam’s leading law enforcer says that imposing random drug tests on government employees is a clear violation of the United States Constitution.
According to a report from Pacific Daily News, Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson handed down an opinion recently arguing that it is against the grain of the Fourth Amendment for government of Guam staff members to be forced to submit to random drug screens.
The opinion, which was released earlier this week, was in response to a local lawmaker’s desire to introduce legislation in the coming session designed to hold government of Guam employees more accountable in the arena of personal drug use.
But that’s not going to fly, according to the attorney general. She said that this type of legislative pursuit, one that allows the testing of a person’s blood, urine or breath without reasonable suspicion, is not constitutionally sound.
"A broad-brushed attempt to institute random, suspicionless drug testing of all government of Guam employees without regard to the nature of the employee's duties and the specific violation intended to be addressed will offend constitutional protections against warrantless searches," Attorney General Barrett-Anderson wrote in her opinion.
Several of Guam’s government agencies recently conducted random drug tests on their employees, which led to the discovery of several people testing positive for various illegal substances. However, the attorney general’ opinion suggests that those people should not suffer any repercussions stemming from this baseless inquiry.
Senator Telena Nelson, the lawmaker who sought the attorney general’s counsel with respect to random drug screens, said Guam would continue to explore other drug detections options that are more in line with federal law.
"We will continue our efforts to increase transparency and ensure the safety of the public,” she said. “We will continue to study Guam’s rehabilitation programs and research alternative avenues to integrate those affected by substance abuse back into the community.”