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SAN GABRIEL VALLEY DIGEST

West Covina : Hiring Drug Tests Discussed

September 03, 1987

The City Council this week discussed a proposal to require pre-employment drug testing for city workers.

"We have had some disciplinary problems that we suspect are related to drugs," said Myra Fry, the city's personnel director. "We don't feel that we have any more of a problem than any other city."

The council is expected to vote on the proposal Oct. 5. At this week's meeting, Councilman Forest Tennant, who has worked with the National Football League on its drug testing program, applauded the proposal but suggested some modifications.

Tennant said the city's drug testing program should check only for the six most commonly abused "recreational" drugs: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, PCP and alcohol. The personnel department originally proposed testing for prescription medications such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates and methaqualone. Tennant argued that abuse of these substances is not as prevalent and that legal challenges to drug testing most often involve detection of prescription drugs.

The testing program is expected to cost $68,000 for the first year. If it is approved, West Covina will become the seventh San Gabriel Valley city to require drug tests of new employees, joining Covina, El Monte, Monterey Park, South El Monte, Temple City and Walnut.

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