The Department of Defense of the United States is one of the largest employers that conduct drug testing. The Department of Defense developed an intensive drug testing policy in the 1980's to fight rampant drug usage among the military.
When it comes to drug and alcohol misuse, the US military, particularly the Navy, has a zero-tolerance policy. It means that the entire testing procedure is scrutinized closely to dismiss any military personnel who violate the regulation.
Table of Contents:
- When Does the Department of Defense Put You to the Test?
- What Are They Looking For When They Test?
- National Guard Drug Testing Procedures
- The National Guard Drug Testing Policy
- Most standard drug testing kits used by the National Guard
- Concerns Regarding the Zero Tolerance Policy
- Tests that are illegal or unconstitutional
- False Positive Drug Test
When Does the DOD Put You to the Test?
After speaking with a recruiter and being selected, you enlist for the National Guard application and be directed to a MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). Each process determines your physical qualities, aptitude, and moral standards on behalf of all armed forces.
The results tell MEPS employees whether you meet the requirements of the various services. In addition, you take a vocational test at the MEPS to establish your military potential.
You'll have a physical checkup that includes alcohol and drug tests in your blood and urine. If you pass all of the tests, a counselor will sit down with you and talk about your military options. If you don't pass, thank you for your time, but no thanks, and best of luck in your future pursuits.
What is the DOD Looking For When They Test You?
Applicants were tested for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, meth, Ecstasy, and MDA until 2017. The Department of Defense announced in March 2017 that testing would be expanded to include a far more comprehensive range of drugs:
The scope has been updated to match the medicines that military personnel is tested for. The Department of Defense claims that the increased testing is due to the rise in illicit drug usage in the civilian population, including illegal and prescribed medications.
Drug usage is considered incompatible with military service by the Department of Defense. So whether you're a recruit visiting a MEPS, an appointee to one of the military academies, an incoming ROTC member, or an officer candidate through initial training, you must complete the tests.
National Guard Drug Testing Procedures
- Every applicant of the National Guard is subjected to at least one random drug test each year (in the Navy, this is upped to 4 a month and in the defense once every two years and equals roughly 800,000 tests every month).
This means that the instructor of each unit has the authority to order drug testing for his entire unit or a portion of his squad at any time. These findings can be used as evidence in court and the event of an involuntary discharge.
While the drill sergeant can order a random drug test, they cannot ask for a specific person to be tested, and neither can the service member decline to be tested.
- When a member is asked to do a drug test, they must first initiate the test container and then offer the sample under supervision.
- The officer in charge of managing them organizes them into batches and starts a chain of custody paperwork for each one.
- Anyone handling that batch from now on must add their name to the chain of command document. This is also true in the testing lab.
- The names of the lab workers are recorded and what they do with the sample.
- Immunoassay testing is performed on each sample.
- Those who test positive are subjected to another test using the same screening process.
- Those who test positive twice are subjected to a third test using a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry method that looks for specific chemicals in the urine.
- If the level is below a specific threshold, the test is considered negative; if it is above that threshold, it is deemed positive. The Department of Defense can test for marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, barbiturates, PCP, and opiates, although it doesn't always do so. All samples are examined for amphetamines, marijuana, and cocaine and steroid testing if a drill sergeant requests it.
- If a positive drug test is discovered, you will face the consequences. This means you'll be subjected to a court-martial, discharge from the military, and the possibility of criminal prosecution.
The National Guard Drug Testing Policy
The military has a large drug testing program. Every active-duty military guard must be tested at least once a year. In addition, drug testing is mandatory every two years for members of the National Guard and Reserve troops. As a result, the military conducts approximately 600,000 drug tests each month.
If a military guard tests positive for drugs, the data can be used against them in various ways, depending on the test's aim. The majority of the tests are part of a random testing process. Positive results can be used against employees in court-martial cases and cases of involuntary discharge.
In reality, the only time favorable results can't be used in court marshall proceedings is if the commander orders it. Those findings, however, can still be used for involuntary discharges. Military personnel does not have the right to refuse to take a test in most cases.
Drug tests are capable of detecting a wide range of substances. In each sample, however, not all of them are tested. For example, marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine are all tested for in every sample. Other drugs, such as LSD, heroin, barbiturates, meth, and PCP, are tested at random in the samples by the labs. Seniors also have the authority to request that certain urine samples be tested for steroids.
Most common drug testing kits used by the National Guard
5 Panel Drug Test Kits
The five-panel device performs Methamphetamine drug test, Cocaine drug test, Amphetamine drug test, Morphine drug test, and Marijuana drug test works on the principle of immunochemical assay between antibodies and antigens to analyze specific compounds in urine samples.
The test is based on competitive binding between the drug conjugate and any free drug present in the urine sample.
Refer to the following website to learn how to perform a 5-panel drug test:
Click Here to View.
12 Panel Drug Test Kits
The 12-panel multi-drug test is easy to use, convenient, and 99 percent accurate. The test strip includes a one-step, fully integrated, and self-contained screening protocol. The ribbon has been approved by the FDA (510) K and is CLIA-free.
The 12 panels Clear strip tests for marijuana, cocaine, morphine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, Ecstasy, methadone, oxycodone, phencyclidine, tricyclic, and three adulterants (creatinine, oxidants, specific gravity) in human urine have been waived.
To understand how to conduct a 12-panel drug test, go to the following website:
Click Here to View.
Concerns Regarding the Zero Tolerance Policy
The zero-tolerance stance is one of the reasons for the drug policy's effectiveness. If a drug test results in a positive result, the offending national guard is sanctioned. This could result in a court-martial, discharge from the military, and criminal charges.
Drug use is taken very severely by the military. After all, using these medications might impair their performance on the field and put the lives of those around them in jeopardy.
The defense, on the other hand, understands the gravity of its policy and strives to ensure that no one is wrongly accused of drug use. Accordingly, several steps are performed to assure the accuracy of the results.
The defense, for example, has set drug-specific criteria. Thus, even if a substance is present in the urine at lower than threshold levels, the sample is still considered negative. As a result, the likelihood of false positives is minimized.
In addition, each sample is subjected to two distinct types of screens to ensure that the results are consistent.
Tests that are illegal or unconstitutional
If there is any doubt , whether the command had probable cause to conduct the drug testing in the first place, it is best to seek legal advice.
There are a variety of scenarios in which officials can use deception to perform criminal searches or drug tests. Accordingly, your defense attorney should vigorously defend your constitutional rights.
The type of drug test is also crucial because some tests are only helpful in certain situations. Limited use of drug tests must usually result in an honorable discharge in certain circumstances, so defense counsel must be watchful. Command-directed tests must be avoided.
The exceptions of the probable cause requirement valid in circumstances where the test was conducted without probable cause. In addition, there are other exceptions, such as the good-faith exception and the exceptional circumstances exception.
False Positive Drug Test
Here are some real-life examples of laboratory errors:
- During the collection process, mishandle samples
- Leakage and cross-contamination due to improper transportation
- During the automated preliminary screening, rack jams might occur.
- The drug lab can dilute samples with "certified" clean urine, leading to inaccuracies in the dilution procedure and the arithmetic used to calculate the results.
- At the lab, contaminated tubes and equipment are a possibility.
- At the drug lab, paperwork can be processed wrongly.
- To guarantee that protocols were followed, a thorough examination of the drug lab result is required.
You may be eligible to reapply and take a second test after 90 days if you test positive for drugs. It depends on whether the second test is approved by the defense branch you want to join.
Each branch determines its policy: applicants can be rejected based solely on the initial test, or stricter standards can be imposed for certain drugs that they are concerned about. It's game over if you fail the drug test twice. You are then forever barred from serving in the military.
If you pass the exam and join the military, drug testing will continue. In addition, three times a year, active-duty military soldiers are subjected to random drug testing.
Substance addiction is taken very seriously by the defense academy. A national guard under the influence of drugs or alcohol is useless to their unit and must be supervised.
This is not only inconvenient in a combat situation, but it is also a liability that could result in people being killed due to a lack of focus on the part of the rest team or miscalculations on the part of the affected service member. Under no circumstances could a military working unit be so hampered.