James R. Beal

Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science & Public Administration


The purpose of this study is to assess the nature and extent of drug testing in the public sector. Drug testing of public employees as well as private employees has been on the rise since the later part of the 1980s. This trend may continue into the 1990s and beyond.

Though drug testing may appear to be means to end drug abuse among public employees, it may not be the best means. In order to fully understand the current controversies sur— rounding drug testing, a detailed examination of available literature was conducted. There are many issues that must be considered before testing public employees for drugs. This study examines the justifications for drug testing such as public safety, costs associated with drug abuse, and integrity of public positions. Also, the arguments against drug testing are examined. These include procedures and accountabi1ity, cost of testing procedures, unreliabi1ity of test results, and invasion of privacy. In particular, the issues of invasion of privacy and reliability of test results will be thoroughly examined.