Drug Policy Expands Testing to Catch More Users

  Drug Policy Expands Testing to Catch More Users

Posted by CN Staff on August 16, 2002 at 11:15:18 PT
By Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service 
Source: Department of Defense  

The Defense Department is continuing its demand reduction efforts with a new policy that involves more frequent random testing of active duty military, reservists and civilian employees. Signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz on July 31, the new policy reflects the reality that the nation is at war, Andre Hollis, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics, said Aug. 13. 
"It's even more critical during war that our service members are mentally alert and physically fit. Drug use is inconsistent with that," he emphasized. "I'm sure that's the message you'll hear from the NCOs all the way up to the secretary of defense." Hollis said he was tasked to do a bottom-up review of DoD's drug policy after assuming his job in August last year. The new policy is a result of that review, he noted. The primary purpose of the policy is to reduce demand for and the use of illegal drugs within DoD. "We're going to increase our testing across all the services -- active, National Guard and Reserve," he said. "That's very important, because all of our men and women in uniform and civilian members of DoD are involved in this war effort. It's critical that we all give 100 percent and that we're drug-free and able to help the secretary and the president in this war on terror." Hollis said the new policy also calls for minimum, across- the-board consequences for anyone in DoD -- military or civilian -- caught using drugs. He said that he noticed during his review that rules varied across the services regarding drug use. For example, he explained, in the past service members of different branches found using drugs under the same circumstances might have received different punishments. DoD is working closely with the services to come up with minimum uniformity to improve not only the sense of fairness, but also the clarity of the message, he said. Hollis noted that message is simple: Drug use is incompatible with military service or civilian employment at DoD. "Drug use is not going to be tolerated. There are going to be consequences," he emphasized. "We will not tolerate it." Abusers, he said, could be subject to dishonorable discharges, dismissals, prison time, fines and criminal records. Responding to some media reports that allege a great increase in illegal drug use within the military, Hollis asserted, "Not so." Recent DoD statistics bear out his contention there is no drug epidemic in the ranks. There is, however, a modest increase in the overall percentage of active duty troops testing positive for so-called club drugs during the past three years, he noted. For example, in fiscal 1999, 1.11 percent of the 1.1 million active duty service members tested were positive for illegal drugs. The positive rate for those tested in fiscal 2000 was 1.32 percent, and in fiscal 2001, 1.45 percent. Hollis explained the increase by noting that more random testing by the services in recent years has been catching more drug users. Under the new policy, he asserted, random drug testing will become even more frequent. Second, the services have significantly increased their ability to test for club drugs increasingly favored by younger people, he said. Upgraded laboratory technology also enables testers to detect a subject's drug use further back in time than was previously possible, he added. In fact, more service members are indeed being busted these days for having the club drug ecstasy in their systems. DoD statistics show 495 ecstasy abusers among the 12,264 active duty service members found abusing illegal drugs in fiscal 1999. With more stringent drug screening standards in place, Ecstasy users totaled 1,744 out of the 16,759 abusers caught in fiscal 2001. Those numbers hardly represent an ecstasy epidemic, Hollis pointed out. DoD statistics show the fiscal 1999 and 2001 active duty populations to be steady at roughly 1.3 million. The test pools were 1.105 million active duty members sampled in fiscal 1999 and 1.157 million in fiscal 2001. Hollis noted that marijuana continues to be active service members' illegal drug of choice -- used by 70% of the 16,759 drug abusers caught in fiscal 2001, down a few percentage points from 2000. The other drugs in the top three most abused by service members are cocaine and methamphetamine (speed). Ecstasy is a close fourth. Drug abuse degrades performance, Hollis continued, and it may also cause well-documented adverse health effects. DoD medical experts point to recent studies that show users can suffer permanent brain damage from even one small dose of ecstasy. Hollis said the new DoD policy will simultaneously encourage and educate service members to avoid drug use. DoD's zero tolerance stance on drug use will also be made clear to potential recruits, he added. "We don't want people who are going to take drugs," Hollis said. "We want the 'best and brightest.' If you're going to take drugs, go somewhere else." Service members in particular, he pointed out, should recognize that today's world is a dangerous place. "You may be called upon to defend the country. You can't do that if you're 'high,'" he said. "We want to make sure our policies are clear and that the consequences for breaking those policies are also clear," Hollis concluded. Complete Title: New Drug Policy Expands Testing to Catch More UsersSource: Department of Defense (USA)Author: Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service Published: August 16, 2002Website: Articles:Military Sees Drug Use Rise Despite Tests Marines and Sailors Convicted of Drug Use

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Comment #12 posted by bbbb on August 16, 2002 at 19:50:06 PT
man;;;this gets my sheep;;;goat too;;;
;;;of course;;;consider the source;;;;;my favorite line is;
"Those numbers hardly represent an ecstasy epidemic," ;;;;;but evidently;;such numbers do represent an ecstacy epidemic when applied to civilians by the dea and ondcp;;;;;im not sure of the exact "numbers"the government gives;;;and no one knows the TRUE numbers of ecstacy users;;or deaths from ecstacy;;;but the whole thing is being treated as an epidemic by the empire with this RAVE act legistlation...
;;;how about;;;and why not;;in the military ;;have mandatory minimums that are double those for civilians!? ;;same for all domestic law enforcement;;;why? well ill tell you that the military is involved with busting most anyone for drugs;;and law enforcement has more power to bust than ever before,,then it would seem only fair that the "busters";should have to live up to a higher standard than the "bustees"!!??..
;;;;in case that doesnt make sense ;;;then consider the freaky laws that mandate enhanced or double sentences for anyone who gets busted within the vicinity of a school?;;;;it doesnt matter if the bustee had anything to do with the school;;the law applies regardless.;;;;;so;;;because military and law enforcement have the power to bust;kill;;and incarcerate;;it makes sense that they should be subject to the same enhanced penalties that have been applied to drug or terror;"offenders".;;;[actually;;they should have even harsher penalties for the busters than the bustees!]..
ps;;;;;sorry about this new silly punctuational fling;;;;;it is even more akward to wade thru than the "......." thing;;;;;;i guess i should just try to be normal ;;;that way ;;maybe more people would be able to take me seriously.;;and i wont have to replace the . button on my keyboard;;;
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Comment #11 posted by trainwreck on August 16, 2002 at 15:55:42 PT
Those Northern Alliance...
soldiers, our allies, smoked hash constantly while fighting the Taliban, according to many news reports. Supposedly musims don't get as concerned about smoking, in part because they believe drinking alcohol is forbidden by god.Maybe that's why they didn't have the "motivation" or "will" to to catch Bin Laden...or maybe they just forgot what the mission was...or found a really cool cave and stopped to explore for a while...
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Comment #10 posted by Industrial Strength on August 16, 2002 at 15:07:56 PT
hashashins (sp?)
Isn't that in fact true?If you smoked pure Sativa herb, you could definitely fight. The Zulu warriors used to take it.The Government put herb in food and cigarettes? Huh?
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Comment #8 posted by relaxed_2000 on August 16, 2002 at 14:35:22 PT:

They have alot of room to judge now...
When my husband was in Vietnam the Governmant put marajuana in the food and ciggaretts that they gave to them...
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Comment #7 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on August 16, 2002 at 12:53:02 PT

Secretary of defense for COUNTERNARCOTICS?
>>Signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz on July 31, the new policy reflects the reality that the nation is at war, Andre Hollis, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics, said Aug. 13.  Which war are you referring to? Are they really saying that we need to keep up the war against our own citizens in order to be able to fight the war against foreigners??
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on August 16, 2002 at 12:34:47 PT

Amphetamines give a person a false sense of power and takes away a lot of fear. It would make someone risk their lives a little more readily. That is scary for me to think about.
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Comment #5 posted by Ethan Russo MD on August 16, 2002 at 12:26:44 PT:

Alcoholic Hypocrisy
"It's even more critical during war that our service members are mentally alert and physically fit. Drug use is inconsistent with that," Until or unless the Armed Services are willing to deal with the problems of alcohol, this statement is nothing but hypocritical nonsense.I wonder if their flyboy drug screens bother to look for amphetamines or benzodiazepines (as most do). As pointed out by others, the drugs the service gives you are good, and those that they don't are bad, unless they come in a longneck, jug, or pack.
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Comment #4 posted by drfistusa on August 16, 2002 at 12:19:46 PT:

liquid courage also in pill form
cannabis makes one a bit paranoid, no need for that in the military, booze and speed make one reckless, so you will risk your life without much thought, booze is always a tool of war and war crimes. but what about the so called assassins on Hash, lie?
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Comment #3 posted by Shishaldin on August 16, 2002 at 12:15:41 PT

Don't use THAT speed and THOSE downers...
...those are ILLEGAL! We'll put you in the brig! Use THIS speed, and THESE downers and be a hotshot TOP GUN fighter pilot instead!It's the hypocrisy, stupid...
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 16, 2002 at 12:10:35 PT

What are they going to do about the speed they take?
 Military Looks To Drugs for Battle Readiness
U.S. Pilots Stay Up Taking 'Uppers'
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on August 16, 2002 at 12:03:12 PT:

And how many good people will leave
because they are sick and tired of being penalized for refusing to use the traditionally accepted intoxicant - alcohol - and chose a much more natural and less deleterious substitute - cannabis?Many years ago, I read a book about the US Army in the late 1970's. The main complaint was that the majority of enlisted men were what the Army considered catagory 3 & 4; near-morons and morons.That categorization was proved to me when I arrived at Basic and witnessed the situation first hand. Many of those kids honestly were 'mentally challenged'. Not their fault that they were there; the recruiter wanted to fill billets, and didn't care how.Things were turning around though, by the time I left.But now? And the military wants to reduce it's numbers of qualified, capable troops because of it's witch-hunt against something that doesn't cause anywhere near the amount of disruption that booze does? How many UCMJ punishments revolve around alcohol? I don't know how it is now, but when I was In, it was huge. The vast majority of Article 15 offenses and on up was caused in one way or another by 'drunk-and-disorderly'.Just gives a new breath of life into the old saw about there being a "right way, a wrong way, and the Army way."
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