May 9, 2006
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
Tallahassee - Florida Department of Corrections Secretary James R. McDonough took the Department's first drug test under a newly expanded random drug testing program, which includes the majority of the Department's more than 26,000 employees.
"This is a ground-breaking program, and to my knowledge is the first of its kind in the country," said Secretary McDonough. "The program includes steroid testing and takes a comprehensive approach to ensuring a drug-free workplace."
Florida Police Benevolent Association Vice President Jim Baiardi added, "This program, and our willing participation, should assure Florida's citizens that the state Correctional and Correctional Probation Officers we represent not only support the drug-free workplace concept, but accept their own, personal responsibility for ensuring the workplace is drug-free."
The department estimates more than 98 percent of employees will be included in the pool from which individuals will be randomly selected and screened utilizing an on-site saliva test. The cost-efficient, noninvasive test will provide a quick and reliable screening result. Only if a test is presumptive positive will an employee report to a laboratory for further testing and confirmation. All employees may volunteer for testing at any time.
"A drug-free workplace is a safer workplace," said Barbara Lumpkin RN, Associate Executive Director of the Florida Nurses Association. "Most people don't realize how dangerous a prison can be, and the presence of drugs heightens the risks to employees, their co-workers and those in their care. We whole heartedly endorse this program."
The program's focus is on prevention, education, detection and assistance. Any employee who initially tests positive may continue employment if they enter and comply with treatment. Benefits of the program will be increased morale and productivity, enhanced safety and reduced absenteeism.
The Drug Detection Canine program will also be expanded as part of this comprehensive program for purposes of deterrence and interdiction.
Secretary's letter to Department of Corrections' staff [Acrobat PDF].