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Drug Testing News
testing positive for drugs, Navy says
By Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, May 15, 2003
ARLINGTON, Va. — The number of sailors testing positive for
illegal drugs has steadily declined over the past three years,
even as more random drug tests are being done, officials said.
The number of random urine tests done Navywide in the first
half of each of the last three fiscal years has risen,
according to information from the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse
In the first half of fiscal 2001, of the 449,926 tests
performed, 3,472 sailors tested positive. In fiscal 2002,
515,308 tests were done, and 3,231 sailors tested positive. In
fiscal 2003, 577,032 tests were done and 2,722 sailors tested
In June, the Navy was the leader in using a new drug test to
better detect the use of the club drug best known as Ecstasy —
a hallucinogen that, though not the most popular drug among
military users, was gaining in popularity much faster than any
other illicit drug.
In 2000, Ecstasy’s popularity surpassed heroin, PCP and LSD,
because it quickly passes through the body and was not
detectable by some tests, according to previously published
However, Ecstasy is not the drug of choice in the armed
forces, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Rivers Johnson said.
Last year, about 68 percent of all drug-positive personnel
used marijuana, compared to about 7.6 percent who tested
positive for Ecstasy, he said.
But Ecstasy wasn’t easily detected, especially when several
days had passed after use, officials said.
To better detect the drug, the Defense Department and all
services except the Air Force, began using the new method,
All active-duty personnel are subject to a random urinalysis.
A computer generates a list of randomly selected names, the
tests are done with witnesses present and results returned to
commands within 10 to 21 days.
Generally, a sailor found to be using illegal drugs must go
through administrative separation processing, though members
diagnosed as drug-dependent will be offered treatment before
Disciplinary action ranges from administrative punishment to
court martial proceedings.
“Our prevention triad of leadership awareness, random
urinalysis and prevention education has proven very
effective,” Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Gerry Hoewing,
said in a written statement.
The Navy Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention program lists the
following as the target population at risk of drug and alcohol
E-3 and below
Between the ages of 19 and 22
Has 2½ years of service
Average of 14 to 24 months at first duty station
Not enrolled in any off-duty education
Never attended program called “Personal Responsibility and
Values: Education & Training.”