CVN-71

Drugs and the Navy Do Not Mix

MEPS Drug and Alcohol Testing (DAT) Program

We have heard it all of our lives, stay away from drugs, just say no and hundreds of other comments and phrases meant to make us aware that using drugs and abusing alcohol can have a huge negative impact of your life. Many of the reasons are health related – use and abuse of drugs and alcohol can lead to deep psychiatric problems and damaged organs not to mention the fractured relationships and self esteem issues you’re bound to encounter.

It is sometimes mentioned, but rarely accentuated, that your use and abuse of drugs and alcohol can have a profound negative effect on your future – lets take a close look at how it might effect the Navy.

When you go to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to process for the military, one of the very first things you are going to do (shortly after filling out some forms) is to take a drug and alcohol test. The Military Drug and Alcohol Testing (DAT) Program is actually two tests; The alcohol test will be a breath test which is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the drug test will be a traditional urinalysis following the procedures set forth by the Secretary of Defense for Health affairs.  The test results are considered final – if you even THINK you may produce a positive result DO NOT go to MEPS!

If you test positive at the MEPS for even a trace of marijuana, opiates, cocaine, or methamphetamine you would be ineligible for enlistment.  If you were preliminarily enlisted pending receipt of drug test results you must be discharged from the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) when the result is annotated in you record.  Keep in mind if you test positive for marijuana, cocaine or methamphetamine on your initial test you are permanently barred from reprocessing for the Navy. Note: Oxycodone/oxymorphone (synthetic opiates) are key ingredients in the drugs Percodan, Percocet, and Tylox, which are commonly prescribed to relieve pain after medical or dental surgery. These drugs are part of the DAT screen panel.

If it was a positive for alcohol on the initial DAT you are ineligible for military service for a period of 45 days from the date of the DAT. You can only retest on or after their 46th day following the initial test. You produce a positive result on your second test you are then permanently ineligible for the Navy.

Also, if you had a previous MEPS positive DAT for drugs, regardless of service processing for, you are permanently ineligible for enlisting in the United States Navy.

Within your first 72 hours at Recruit Training Command (boot camp), you will be given a urinalysis. If you test is positive, you will be immediately discharged based upon fraudulent enlistment.

More and more companies across the U.S. and the world are adopting the zero tolerance position on the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol – heed this and the other warnings you are hearing and just in case let me say it one more time for the people in the back row – Stay away from drugs; just say NO!

Alcohol abuse or illegal or improper use of drugs during your enlistment could result in possible administrative separation with less than honorable conditions and loss of all veterans benefits. To further illustrate the Navy’s position on drug use and abuse, I highlighted a couple of points from NAVADMIN 108/10, as an applicant for the Navy you had better understand, that was recently sent by the CNO;

R 251705Z MAR 10
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N00//
TO NAVADMIN
BT
UNCLAS N05355//
NAVADMIN 108/10
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO/WASHINGTON DC/N00/MAR//
SUBJ/DRUG ABUSE ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY AND PROHIBITION ON POSSESSION OF CERTAIN SUBSTANCES//

REF/A/DOC/SECNAVINST 5300.28D/5DEC05//
REF/B/DOC/OPNAVINST 5350.4D/4JUN09//
NARR/REF A IS SECNAVINST 5300.28D, MILITARY SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONTROL. REF B IS OPNAVINST 5350.4D, NAVY ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONTROL.

RMKS/1. THIS NAVADMIN REEMPHASIZES NAVY POLICY ON DRUG ABUSE AND PROHIBITS POSSESSION OF THE SUBSTANCES DESIGNATED IN PARA 5. THIS MESSAGE CONSTITUTES A LAWFUL GENERAL ORDER APPLICABLE TO ALL UNIFORMED PERSONNEL IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY. THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN PARA 5 WILL BE INCORPORATED INTO THE NEXT REVISION OF REF B.

2. THE NAVY SEPARATED 1,374 SAILORS AS A RESULT OF DRUG ABUSE IN FY09 AND 303 SAILORS DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF FY10. DRUG ABUSE PUTS LIVES AND MISSIONS AT RISK, UNDERCUTS UNIT READINESS AND MORALE, AND IS INCONSISTENT WITH OUR NAVY ETHOS AND CORE VALUES OF HONOR, COURAGE, AND COMMITMENT.

3. NAVY POLICY ON DRUG ABUSE IS SIMPLE AND CLEAR – ZERO TOLERANCE. NAVY PERSONNEL DETERMINED TO BE UNLAWFULLY USING, POSSESSING, PROMOTING, MANUFACTURING, OR DISTRIBUTING DRUGS AND/OR DRUG ABUSE PARAPHERNALIA SHALL BE DISCIPLINED, AS APPROPRIATE, AND PROCESSED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE SEPARATION.

4. PER REFS A AND B, DRUG ABUSE INCLUDES THE WRONGFUL USE, POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, OR DISTRIBUTION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. DRUG ABUSE ALSO INCLUDES THE UNLAWFUL USE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE ANALOGUES (DESIGNER DRUGS), NATURAL SUBSTANCES (E.G., FUNGI, EXCRETIONS), CHEMICALS (E.G., CHEMICALS WRONGFULLY USED AS INHALANTS), PROPELLANTS AND/OR PRESCRIBED OR OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS OR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPOUNDS WITH THE INTENT TO INDUCE INTOXICATION, EXCITEMENT, OR STUPEFACTION OF THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM, AND WILL SUBJECT THE VIOLATOR TO PUNITIVE ACTION UNDER THE UCMJ AND/OR ADVERSE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION. EXAMPLES OF OTHER SUBSTANCES, THE WRONGFUL USE OF WHICH CONSTITUTES DRUG ABUSE, INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING:
A. PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN SYNTHETIC CANNABINOID COMPOUNDS, SUCH AS SPICE, GENIE, BLAZE, DREAM, EX-SES, SPARK, FUSION, DARK KNIGHT, YUKATAN FIRE, AND K2.
B. NATURAL SUBSTANCES SUCH AS SALVIA DIVINORUM AND MUSHROOMS.
C. COMMON ITEMS ABUSED BY INHALING OR HUFFING, SUCH AS DUST OFF, GLUE, PAINT THINNER AND GASOLINE.
D. OVER-THE-COUNTER PRODUCTS SUCH AS ROBITUSSIN AND CORICIDIN HBP.
E. PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS SUCH AS OXYCODONE, VICODIN, ADDERAL, AND VALIUM.

5. POSSESSION PROHIBITED. NAVY PERSONNEL WHO WRONGFULLY POSSESS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE ANALOGUES (DESIGNER DRUGS), SALVIA DIVINORUM, OR PRODUCTS CONTAINING SYNTHETIC CANNABINOID COMPOUNDS (INCLUDING THE PRODUCTS IN PARA 4.A ABOVE) MAY BE SUBJECT TO PUNITIVE ACTION UNDER THE UCMJ, ADVERSE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION, OR BOTH.

6. DETERRENCE. TO DETER DRUG ABUSE, WE MUST ELIMINATE ANY PERCEPTION AMONG POTENTIAL DRUG USERS THAT THEIR USE MAY GO UNDETECTED. THIS REQUIRES A RIGOROUS URINALYSIS PROGRAM WITH FREQUENT, RANDOM, OBSERVED, AND UNANNOUNCED URINALYSIS TESTS. REF B REQUIRES THAT ALL COMMANDS HAVE AN AGGRESSIVE URINALYSIS TESTING
PROGRAM THAT RANDOMLY TESTS AT LEAST FOUR TIMES PER MONTH. A MINIMUM OF 15 PERCENT OF ASSIGNED PERSONNEL MUST BE TESTED EACH MONTH.

7. CONSULT YOUR STAFF JUDGE ADVOCATE OR REGION LEGAL SERVICE OFFICE FOR ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE ON SPECIFIC CASES.

8. ALCOHOL AND DRUG CONTROL OFFICERS (ADCOS) CAN PROVIDE COMMAND LEADERSHIP WITH INFORMATION ON CURRENT SUBSTANCE ABUSE TRENDS. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONCERNING SPICE AND SALVIA DIVINORUM CAN BE FOUND AT HTTP://WWW.NPC.NAVY.MIL/COMMANDSUPPORT/NADAP/WHATSNEW.HTM.

9. CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION OF THE NAVY’S ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY, EDUCATION OF SAILORS AND COMMAND LEADERS, EFFECTIVE EXECUTION AND COMPLIANCE WITH URINALYSIS TESTING, AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO ABUSE DRUGS WILL DETER DRUG ABUSE. DETERRING DRUG ABUSE IS EVERY SAILOR’S RESPONSIBILITY. JUST AS SHIPMATES DON’T LET SHIPMATES
DRINK AND DRIVE, SHIPMATES DON’T LET SHIPMATES DO DRUGS.

10. RELEASED BY ADMIRAL G. ROUGHEAD, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.//
BT
#0000
NNNN


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200 Responses to “MEPS Drug and Alcohol Testing (DAT) Program”


  1. Ryan says:

    NCCM(RET)

    Will the drug urinalysis at MEPS for either Enlisting or Shipping test for Benzo’s (like xanax) – if it was only taken once.

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Ryan,

    To tell you the truth, I do not know. I know the lab is pretty thorough, but I do not know all the various drugs that are tested for — beyond the drugs you would expect, I know some steroids are even tested for — I know that they have even derived a test for designer drugs like Spice, but benzodiazepines…no idea. But with that said, if you took the drug, you should be informing your recruiter.

  3. aileen says:

    my nephew said he is being discharged from the navy for during drugs before he was enlisted and never said anything to anyone excet his recruiter that told him it is fine since he is clean now. He said the navy found out because he talked to friends about his past partying days. never in trouble as an adult. how is this?

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Aileen,

    I agree with you, something is missing from the explanation. His DD-214 (discharge document), if he shows it to you, could shed some light — it will give the type of discharge and a separation code; the separation code will will state something like fraudulent enlistment if it was a preservice issue. If he tested positive for drugs, the discharge will more than likely be an “other than honorable” one with an RE-4 discharge code (he could receive an RE-4 with either discharge). No matter what though, if discharged for a drug related issue, he will not be able to reenlist.

  5. aileen says:

    Will he never be able to enlist in any military branch?

  6. aileen says:

    H new wife with him said this all occurred on 6-11-2013. What is the process and when will he be released? I beleive he may have a “MASS”. next week?

  7. aileen says:

    I do not understand what happened to him, he was doing so good. An E-3 working in a security area in less than a year. I did notice he started drinking and smoking cigs. more and more. If drugs why???

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Aileen,

    Did he fail a drug test? In our past conversations, it hasn’t been established as to what, if anything, he did.

    He would be going to Captain’s Mast (not Mass).

    If he is ultimately discharged for drugs, I know he would not be able to reenlist in the Navy, and I doubt he would be able to join any other service for three reasons; first, he would be discharged with an RE-4 discharge code; second, his discharge will more than likely be “other than honorable”; and third, it would be a discharge for drug use.

    If he did use drugs while on active duty, I wish I knew the why — I will never understand why people would jeopardize their future like that. I hope that is not the case with him. I truly hope everything works out and that there has been some sort of misunderstanding.

  9. Dave says:

    My son has been in the Deps program since last about last August. When he signed up, we talked to his recruiter about taking a mission trip with our church to Nicaragua. He said that he would be able to do that. We took Chloroquine as a preventive measure against Malaria. We returned from the trip on 6/13/13 . We are required by the prescription to take it once a week after we return for 3 weeks.

    He went to MEPS Wednessday and told the recruiter about the medicine and even had the prescription with him. He failed his urinalysis test at the recruiter station. When he got to Denver, he passed the urinalysis test but they were suspicious. We had to tracked down his passport, and fax copies of the trip to them. Even had the doctor that prescribed us the medicine email a letter stating so. Then they began questioning him and us further. The asked for his medical records since he was a boy. He was diagnosed as ADHD. We didn’t agree and later he was taken off adderall at age 11. By midnight Thursday he was home and his dream of being a Hospital Corpsman was over. At least that is what they told him or made him believe. I know you have heard this before but he is the cleanest most honest boy you will meet.

    They told him that they would let him know this coming week if it is over for him or not. We aero fused whether or not there is a recousre for this situation or not. Is it unusual to send them home with out an paper work?

    Help, the Navy is about to lose out on one of the finest young men out there.

  10. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Dave,

    The concern is that he did not initially disclose the ADHD; when information is withheld from MEPS, they get really suspicious of everything else — they wonder what else may have been left out. Also, the drug Chloroquine will not produce a positive result on the drug test used in the recruiting station, so I am not sure what that is about — and I am not sure why he was tested again after DEP-in by the MEPS; that is not normal procedure.

    I assume the Navy is forwarding his medical waiver to CNRC for consideration, and if CNRC denies the waiver, there is no recourse. He would have to try another service at that point.

  11. aileen says:

    So I have not heard anything since the captains mast. I have no idea what his restriction is or even what goes on in restiction. If it was drugs or a bad drug test, how bad could this be. He sent a message to his wife that it is not that bad, well what is not that bad? I have sent messages to him and his wife along with texts and phone calls and all go un answered. I do not understand this, have you seen or heard of this before?

  12. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Aileen,

    If he is on restriction (normal punishment before discharge would be 45/45 and half months for two months with a reduction in rank) his communication would be restricted — his would be confined to a certain location (not jail) with others who may also be on restriction.

    The 45/45; the first is 45 days is the number of days to be served on restriction, the second 45 means 45 days of extra duty — cleaning the base, etc. The half months for two months would be a fine — one half month of basic pay taken from his check for two months, and the reduction rank would be just that. If he was an E-4, he would now be an E-3. Any part or all of it could be suspended, but for drug related charges, a suspension is unlikely.

  13. aileen says:

    Thank you for your continuining information. It is very helpful. I’am just so disappointed and upset I have not heard from him, I know he has contact with his wife that is on base with him. But me no. I raised this man since he was 9 yrs old. Just plain hurt and disappointed.

    I think the Navy or services should drug test them daily if caught to be sure they are no longer still doing durgs on the base.

    Make the enlisted stay until their duty is served with a grade drop, pay cut and be part of the cleaning of the base. And make them take rehabilitation classes.Then the Navy can decide how they want to discharge (classfication) the sailor when their ontract is up.

    The restictions and punishment they get and then discharge does not seem like enough punishment for doing drugs in the service. .

    I hope the lesson of being kicked out was enough for any sailor to get their self together. They have to live with this the rest of their lives and i’m sure it is something that will be looked back on by the sailor with regret.

  14. emmy says:

    I enlist for navy reserve but I fail the drug test before bootcamp, am I going to have a dd on my background check?

  15. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Emmy,

    Who gave you the drug test?

  16. emmy says:

    At the meps

  17. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Emmy,

    You will not have a Dishonorable Discharge — you have been administratively released.

  18. nny says:

    I smoked crystal once two months ago and havent yet gone to MEPS.. do i still have a chance to join the navy or how long do i need to wait.

  19. NCCM(Ret) says:

    NNY,

    Mandatory minimum waiting period of one year since last use — you have 10 more months to wait, then you would require a drug use waiver.

  20. nny says:

    Two months ago i smoked crystal and did it once (first time).. and have no intentions on doing it again…how long do i have to wait to go back to my recruiter.. done the asvaab, score 38 and they gave me a chance to retake it if want too. Also initial some paper work and never date it.. and never went to MEPs.. i really want to join in!! Any hopes..

  21. NCCM(Ret) says:

    NNY,

    I answered your question in the comment above.

  22. David [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    If permanently barred from re-processing in the Navy, are you also permanently barred from processing in all other branches of service? I have a few enlisted mates that are saying I am eligible for all other services but the Marines? Also, I was never given any urinalysis at my recruiting station even after telling my recruiter that I would test positive he assured me it was out of my system, unfortunately he was wrong and i popped positive at MEPS.
    I would like to take the time to thank you in advance for reviewing this and look forward to you response, Thank You David [Last name redacted for privacy]

  23. NCCM(Ret) says:

    David,

    The Navy is the only service that instituted and consistently maintains the policy; I have heard that some services will allow you to process, and others will not. You would need to ask each service individually what their policy is as of today.

  24. David [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    NCCM,

    Most respect and much appreciated response, I am going to go to a recruiting station asap to see what all they have to say, I will also keep an updated post on here so fellow peers can have the information as well. Thank You, David [Last name redacted for privacy]

  25. Matt says:

    I have to go in for a urology test in a few hrs for my recruiter, but I just got my wisdom teeth pulled a few days ago and got prescribed painkillers for my mouth. I took one vicodin a few hrs ago and then realized that I probably should have waited out the pain. If show proof to my recruiters that I have a valid prescription and proof i was in the operating room for the teeth, will there be any problems for my use of the pill?

  26. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Matt,

    Bring the prescription with you. Make sure they review it before you are tested.

  27. JR says:

    I was on active duty for 6 years and got out on honorable discharge. Had some life changes shortly after getting out (had a child and was going to school full time plus picked up a full time job). Shortly after that I went into the reserves. Going thru all that took a toll on me and I unexpectantly loss my full time job (due to tardiness). As the stress was building up I used marijuana and ended up popping on a urinalysis. This was about two years ago. Am i eligible to go back into the navy or any other branch?

  28. NCCM(Ret) says:

    JR,

    If you popped positive at MEPS, you are not eligible to process; no waivers are authorized.

  29. JR says:

    it wasnt at MEPS, it was during a drill weekend on reserve duty when I had a random urinalysis test. they sent me a letter yhe next month informing me that I popped.

  30. NCCM(Ret) says:

    JR,

    If released from the reserve for a positive drug test, then no waiver authorized.

  31. JR says:

    Alright thanks. I had read on another forum that you may be able to do army reserve then after a short time you can go back active. Just wanted to be sure if that was true or not. Thanks again though NCCM.

  32. rw says:

    I passed all my drug test at navy office but when I got to meps they said I have a positive drug test how is this possible but it is not saying positive for what and then it has reenlistment may not be effected without the prior approval of the commanding officer. its an Entry level separation. what do this mean I haven’t smoked or drank anything.

  33. NCCM(Ret) says:

    RW,

    Failing the MEPS drug test renders you ineligible for enlistment. Whereas the recruiter’s test is helpful, it is not always accurate. The MEPS drug test is accurate, and there is no recourse or appeal. The Navy does not entertain waivers for a MEPS positive drug test.

  34. rw says:

    I haven’t smoked anything in about a year and that was nothing so how can I test positive. On my job we are tested randomly and I have past them all.

  35. NCCM(Ret) says:

    RW,

    No idea, but if you failed the MEPS drug test, there is no recourse.

  36. david [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Failed my urinalysis for the navy at meps years ago. Can I re process for Marines army national guard or anything? Mainly Marines though

  37. NCCM(Ret) says:

    David,

    I cannot confirm that the Marines and other services have adopted the Navy’s policy, but I do think they have. I recommend that you contact them to be certain.

  38. Charles says:

    So I’m interested in enlisting in the Navy but when I was in high school I was suspended from school for being under the influence of marijuana and told I had to go to a rehab program before being able to return to school. I did and completed the program. Will this affect my eligibility?

  39. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Charles,

    Your documentation from the rehab and follow-up treatment needs to be submitted to the MEPS for a review so a determination can be made. Much will hinge on diagnosis and your treatment itself along with police involvement, grades, etc.

  40. Matt says:

    So I want to join the navy but I had previously failed a drug test over a year ago when trying to obtain a job for a local school system(not a teaching position so don’t judge). Anyways will this prevent me from being able to join? Can the military see these failed tests since they are both government affiliated? I haven’t done any drugs in over a year and don’t plan on it but wanted to know if this could prevent me from joining the military?

  41. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Matt,

    The failed test is not disqualifying by itself because it did not happen at the MEPS. It is very possible that the failed test will show during any background inquiry — be truthful.

  42. AL says:

    i joined the navy in February of this year, and i been going to the dep meetings and following up with my recruiter but the week before i was about to leave i get news saying i failed my first drug test at memps. both me and my recruiter are in shock because i have been clean since 2013.

  43. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Al,

    I am sorry to hear that.

  44. Gwen says:

    If you had taken alcohol and marajiuana.. But it wasn’t intentional, would that allow me to have me enlisting into the navy at risk?..
    (Because my friend was having a birthday party and her brother made brownies but had marajiuana in it, and I wasn’t aware of it… And for the alcohol, my dad put his bud light next to my Pepsi and I had taken the wrong can by mistake and consumed some..)

  45. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Gwen,

    Ensure the marijuana use is documented, and if you require a program waiver for it then I am sure you would be considered. If you can show that you prosecuted the person who knowingly delivered the drug to you, I am sure the use will be considered as unintentional.

  46. Cat. says:

    Hello there,
    I know you can only answer for the Navy. I am 27 years old and as healthy as can be, both mentally and physically. Very recently, I tried to apply for the USAF and was informed that I cannot enlist due to the past use of illegal drugs. Pot is one they will overlook (depending on the circumstances) but other illegal drugs cannot be overlooked.
    What are the Navy’s guidelines for past drug use? I have been drug free, prescription (one year this September) and illegal (about 3 years). As for the illegal drugs, I used only out of curiosity and never used on any regular basis so I never suffered any dependency or withdrawal symptoms. Just a young adult, seeing what all the fuss was about.
    Any light shed is greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!

  47. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Cat,

    It depends on how many different drugs and how often you used them. Prior experimental use can receive waiver consideration.

  48. Cat. says:

    Thank you for your information!
    As for illegal drugs, I tried mushrooms (twice), ecstasy (once), pot (3 to 5 times total). I have been illegal drug free for about 3 years.
    The only “recent” prescription drug I took was the generic of Paxil for anxiety and I only took that for a few short months. I have been prescription drug free since September of 2013.
    I hope this helps.
    P.S. If the above falls under the Navy’s guidelines as experimental use (fingers crossed!), would I contact a recruiter and inform them that I will be needing to try to obtain the above listed waiver?
    Thank you again!

  49. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Cat,

    The illegal usage you describe will require a local Navy Recruiting District Commanding Officer waiver.

    All of the documentation concerning the anxiety and Paxil usage must be submitted to MEPS via your recruiter for consideration — you may require, if eligible based on the documentation, a medical waiver for the anxiety. A minimum of two years must have passed since the completion of any and all treatment before you will be able to process. So, get all the medical documentation (treatment records, etc.) together so the recruiter can forward it.

  50. Cat. says:

    Thank you very much for your responses. I’ll get right on it!

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