SROS not certified to conduct drug tests

The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) lacks certification to conduct drug tests.

SROS Chief Executive Officer, Seuseu Dr. Joseph Tauati, told the Samoa Observer that the country's premier scientific research body can do drug tests to identify the substance, but they are not certified by the relevant authorities. 

“We are able to test for samples but we are not certified to test biological samples. If someone gets caught with a substance, it’s brought to SROS they can identify what type of the substance. 

“This request deals with biological test meaning its either blood or urination and we are not certified at the moment to conduct those drug tests,” he said. 

Last week the Electric Power Corporation (EPC) management announced that it has begun preparations to get Cabinet-approval for all their employees to undergo mandatory drug testing. 

EPC general manager, Tologata Tile Tuimaleali’ifano, said safety is paramount in an organisation such as theirs and drug testing of employees should become mandatory. A submission will be made to Cabinet next month to seek its approval. 

When Seuseu was asked if there is a possibility of the SROS taking on that role, he said certification is a prerequisite to conducting mandatory drug tests and his organisation doesn't have that. 

“We possibly can do it but we are not certified which is the most important thing. We have to be certified because these cases will be taken to Court. We have the equipment and the facilities but we lack certification.” 

He said the SROS anticipates having scientists undergo the certification process in New Zealand soon. 

“We are looking at the earliest slot to have our scientists to undergo the mandatory training. We are already certified to test the substance, but we are looking at the biological training.

“Obviously we can do it, however we must be certified to carry out this kind of identification,” he said. 

Last week Tologata was asked what compelled the organisation to consider introducing the policy, he said it is too risky for staff who are "high" on drugs to be working for an organisation like the EPC. 

“It is all part of the strategy to have a drug free working environment and also to assure the safety is paramount for the staff. We can’t afford to have staffs who are high working on the electrical line, it is dangerous," he said. 

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