NEWS | Feb. 6, 2013

AF Civilian Drug Testing Program aims for drug-free workplace

By Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Due to the sensitive nature of its work and its national defense responsibilities, the Air Force is committed to providing a drug-free workplace. Just as the Air Force expects its active-duty members to refrain from illegal drug use, it expects no less from its civilian employees.

The Air Force Civilian Drug Testing Program is designed to improve the health, wellness and safety of the civilian force.

According to Selwyn Stephens, 628th Medical Group, Drug Demand Reduction Program manager, it is Department of Defense policy not to hire civilian employees who have an illegal or illicit drug dependency. The Air Force tests employees being considered for assignment to a Testing Designated Position. TDPs are those positions deemed sufficiently critical to the Air Force mission or to the protection of public safety to warrant screening to detect the presence of drugs as a job-related requirement.

"Federal employees entrusted with the national defense must be free from the possibility of coercion or influence of criminal elements," said Stephens.

The use of illegal drugs, on or off-duty, by federal employees is inconsistent not only with the law-abiding behavior expected of all citizens, but also with the special trust placed in such employees as servants of the public, according to Provisions of Executive Order 12564 of Sept. 15, 1986.

Civilian Drug Testing Procedures

"The collection, handling and testing of the urine specimen is conducted under strict chain of custody procedures established by the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure validity of the test results," said Stephens.

In addition, failure to appear for testing without a deferral may be considered refusal to participate and may subject the employee to the full range of administrative and/or disciplinary action, said Stephens.

Supervisors play a key role in the random notification process of employees. Unlike active duty members, civilian employees are not directly observed providing their urine specimen, unless for reasonable suspicion, accident, safety mishap, or invalid sample. The specimen container used to collect the specimen has a temperature gauge. The temperature must be within the acceptable range of 90 - 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The entire collection process for the AFCDTP can be found in AFI 44-107, Air Force Civilian Drug Demand Reduction Program.

Types of Civilian Drug Testing

Several types of civilian drug testing will be employed to deter federal civilian employees from the use of illicit drugs and to identify employees for treatment and administrative actions. Below are types of testing civilians can be subject to:

· Tentative Selectee Testing - It is DOD policy to not hire civilian employees who are drug dependent or active drug users.

· Random Testing - Employees assigned to TDPs are subject to urinalysis testing on an unannounced random basis. Once notified by a supervisor of the need to test, employees must report to the designated test site immediately.

· Reasonable Suspicion Testing - Prior to initiating reasonable suspicion testing, a supervisor must consult with higher level supervision and attorney from the Staff Judge Advocate's Office.

· Accident or Safety Mishap Testing - The Air Force is committed to providing a safe and secure working environment and accident or mishap drug testing can provide invaluable information in furtherance of that interest.

· Voluntary Testing - Employees not in testing designated positions may volunteer for unannounced random drug testing by notifying the Civilian Personnel or NAF Human Resources Offices.

· Rehabilitation (Follow-up) Testing - All employees referred for counseling or treatment for illicit drug use will be subject to unannounced testing for a minimum of one year from the time of initiating rehabilitation.

· Consent Testing - After legal consultation, a supervisor may ask any civilian employee to consent to provide a urine specimen for drug testing at any time. The consent must be knowing and voluntary

"Hopefully these guidelines will encourage employees to make 'Protect Your Future - Make Responsible Choices,' a way of life and not just a slogan," said Stephens.

Supervisors are encouraged to attend the quarterly U.S. Air Force Civilian Personnel Management Course to learn more about the AFCDTP. To attend the 2-Day course covering various civilian supervisor topics, contact the Civilian Training at 963-4493.

For more information on the Civilian Drug Testing Program, call the Drug Demand Reduction Program office at 963-6849.