- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs failed to administer a drug test to about 70 percent of employees hired in 2013 who were supposed to be tested, according to an inspector general report released Monday.

Of 22,600 employees hired into testing designated positions in fiscal 2013, about 15,800 never received a pre-employment drug test, the report found.

The VA also failed to properly test its employees after they were hired. Of the more than 3,000 employees selected for random drug testing in fiscal 2013, only about 68 percent were actually tested. In addition, the VA erroneously designated more than 13,000 employees for testing who were not in positions that required random monthly tests.

Only about a third of those employees who tested positive for drugs were referred to get help at the VA, the report said.

“VA has little assurance that this program is performing as intended to identify and eliminate illegal drug use in its workforce,” the report said. “Since VA’s workforce is expected to grow significantly with the passage of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, VA needs to take actions to address weaknesses in its Drug-Free Workplace Program immediately.”

Investigators recommended the VA increase its oversight of the drug testing program by ensuring full compliance with both random and pre-employment testing.

The Drug Free Workplace Program was established in 1988 and requires the VA to pick 285 employees each month for random drug testing. The VA spent about $1.4 million in fiscal 2013 on its drug testing program, the report said.

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