The Navy drug testing program has been in operation since 1971. Since that time, its objectives, capabilities, and operating methods have undergone widespread development and change. As these laboratories developed, they helped establish many of the currently accepted operating standards for drug testing. For laboratories considering entering into drug testing business, it would be useful to examine the development and current operation of military laboratories.
The US Army – the Navy in particular – practices a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse. This means that the entire testing process is monitored more critically and carefully in order to remove any individual from the military branches who violate this policy.
How are the Navy drug tests used?
If military personnel test positive for drugs, their results can be used against them in a number of ways depending on the purpose of the test. Most of the tests performed are part of a randomized test. Positive results can be used against individuals in court proceedings and in involuntary layoff cases. In fact, the only time positive results cannot be used in court Marshall cases is when the commander orders them. However, these findings can still be used for autonomic drainage situations. In most circumstances, military personnel are not entitled to refuse to take the test.
What drugs does Navy drug testing check for?
Drug tests can check for a wide variety of different chemicals. However, not all of them were examined in every sample. Each sample is always tested for three drugs: marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine. However, laboratories are conducting random testing of other drugs in the samples as well, including LSD, heroin, barbiturates, methamphetamine and PCP. Leaders also have the right to request that some urine samples be tested for steroids as well.
Effects of Navy drug testing policy
In the 1980s, drug abuse among the military was more common than it is today. While 25% of individuals have been using some type of illegal substance, today the number is less than 3%. Drug use in the military has decreased dramatically since the policy was implemented and is now much lower than rates of drug abuse among civilians.
Navy drug testing zero-tolerance policy
Part of the reason the drug policy is so effective is its zero-tolerance approach. If the drug test turns out to be positive, the guilty member of the military is punished accordingly. This means having a court officer, demobilization from the army, and possibly a criminal trial. The military takes drug abuse very seriously. After all, the use of these drugs can affect their performance in the field and could endanger the lives of everyone around them.
Nevertheless, the military recognizes the gravity of its policy and seeks to ensure that no one is falsely accused of drug use. Numerous efforts are made to ensure the results are accurate. For example, the military has set thresholds for each property. If the drug is present in the urine but at rates below the threshold, the sample is still determined to be negative for the drug. This way the chance of false positives decreases.
In addition, two different types of tests are used in each sample to ensure that the results match.
Navy drug testing protection and sampling security
There are several protections built into the system to ensure accurate results. First, individuals sign the label on their bottles. Bottles are packed in batches, and the test official starts issuing guard chain document for each batch. There is even an observer present to watch you pee in your bottle. This is a legal document that every person who has had any contact with the bottle signs – whether the observer saw the person collecting the sample, the person who put it in the box or the person who took it out of the box.
There is always a written record of these individuals. The chain of custody continues in the laboratory as well. The people who handle each sample and what exactly they do with the sample is written in the document.
After reaching the laboratory, the samples are then subjected to a preliminary immunoassay (using the Olympus AU-800 Automated Chemistry Analyzer). Those who tested positive for the presence of drugs at this point undergo the same screen again. Finally, positive tests are put through two screening tests with a more specific gas chromatography / mass spectrometry test. This test can identify specific substances in urine samples. Even if a specific drug is detected, if the level is below a certain threshold, the test result is reported to the leader as negative.
DoD laboratories are equipped to test for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, opiates (including morphine and heroin), barbiturates, and PCP. However, not all samples have been tested for all of these drugs.
What drugs show up on a military drug test?
Each sample is tested for marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines, including ecstasy. Other drug tests are done randomly according to different schedules for each laboratory. Some laboratories test every sample for every drug.
Recruits are being tested more difficultly nowadays than in the past. Military applicants are currently being tested on more than 26 drugs. From marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, designer amphetamines such as MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy) and MDA (also known as adam), including heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphon, and a number of synthetic cannabinoids (also known as benzapine).
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Does the Navy drug test for steroids?
Leaders can order samples to be tested for doping. In this case, the samples are sent to the Olympic Testing Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Cold medicines and over-the-counter nutritional supplements may result in a positive screening test, but a more specific secondary test will determine the drug positively. In this case, the report back to the leader says negative.
Types of drug tests in the military
Most of the drug tests you will test will be randomized, and some days your number may not be picked and only a portion of your command will be tested. It is usually based on the first or last number of your Social Security number. How legally the results of drug tests can be used depends on the reason for the urinalysis test. There are five types of drug tests below:
- Random test. This is done by means of “random testing”. Basically, a leader can order testing of a randomly selected sample of his unit, at any time. Random test results can be used in (under Article 1128A of the Uniform Law of Military Justice) and Article 15 seconds (Non-Judicial Punishment), and this includes using the results to determine service description (supervisor, public, or dishonest). Members have no right to refuse a random test. However, leaders cannot order specific individuals to take a “random” test. These chosen ones must be truly “random”. Usually, they will choose the last number of the Social Security number as a selection.
- Medical examinations. This test is performed in compliance with any medical requirements such as the Entry into the Army (MEPS). Urinalysis tests given to new recruits fall into this category. As with random testing, results may be used in military trials, Article 15, and involuntary layoffs, to include service descriptions. Members have no right to refuse to conduct medical examinations in the military.
- Probable cause. If the commander has probable cause that a person is under the influence of drugs, the commander can request a search warrant from the facility commander, who is authorized to issue “military search warrants” after consulting with the JAG. Again, the results of urinalysis tests obtained through the search mandates of military courts, Article 15, and involuntary discharge, including service specification can be used. Members cannot refuse to provide a urine sample that has been authorized under a military search warrant.
- Consent. If the leader does not have a probable cause, the leader can ask the member to “consent to the search.” If the member gives consent, the results of urinalysis can be used in military courts, Article 15 S, and involuntary discharge to include service descriptions. Under this procedure, members are not required to give consent.
Directed. If a member refuses to grant consent, and if the leader does not have enough evidence to justify a search warrant for a probable cause, the leader may order the member to give a urine sample anyway. However, the results of a commander-directed urine analysis may not be used for purposes of the military court or for purposes of Article 15. The results may be used as a reason for involuntary discharges, but they may not be used to determine a service description. In other words, an organ can be discharged, but the type of discharge they receive (supervisor, general, dishonest) depends on their military record (without using urinalysis results).