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Drugs and the Navy Do Not Mix

MEPS Drug and Alcohol Testing (DAT) Program

Updated: October 13, 2017

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 – let’s 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 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO);


Begin NAVADMIN 108/10


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, ADDERALL, 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.

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


End NAVADMIN


The DoD guidelines include the following confirmatory test cutoffs for the specified drug/metabolites:

Cocaine metabolite (benzoylecgonine): 100 ng/mL
Heroin metabolite (6-AM): 10 ng/mL
d-Methamphetamine: 100 ng/mL
d-Amphetamine: 100 ng/mL
Marijuana metabolite (THCA): 15 ng/mL
MDMA (Ecstasy): 500 ng/mL
MDA (Ecstasy): 500 ng/mL
Codeine: 2000 ng/mL
Morphine: 4000 ng/mL
Hydrocodone: 100 ng/mL
Hydromorphone: 100 ng/mL
Oxycodone: 100 ng/mL
Oxymorphone: 100 ng/mL
Nordiazepam: 100 ng/mL
Oxazepam: 100 ng/mL
Lorazepam: 100 ng/mL
Temazepam: 100 ng/mL
Nordiazepam: 100 ng/mL
Alpha-Hydroxy-Alprazolam: 100 ng/mL
Synthetic Cannabinoids (SYCAN): Various compounds; See NAVADMIN above and AFMES for updates.




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


  1. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Christine,

    You need to be asking legal. Keep in mind that over the years, the Navy has heard every excuse for a positive test that you can imagine — your stated reason is by no means new.

  2. cj [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    My bother was in the DEP for the navy, went to MEPs today a fail his drug test. He was informed that his contact was terminated and he can reenlist in 90days. is this a fact or will he no longer be able to enlist in the navy?

  3. NCCM(Ret) says:

    CJ,

    With a positive MEPS drug test, he is banned from joining the Navy under its current policy. The other branches may entertain a waiver after the 90 days, but the Navy will not.

  4. Cj [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    You have already responded to me about the positive results on a drug screen, but after talking to my brother, he never failed a test during DEP when he arrived to leave he disclose his use and that’s when they told him to reenlist in 90days, so I guess my new question is, can he still join the navy if he disclose his use but never failed a drug screen. Hope I made my question clear.

  5. NCCM(Ret) says:

    CJ,

    If he did not fail the MEPS drug test, then a waiver may be possible. It would be up to the command to run it; they are not restricted from doing so.

  6. Steven says:

    Hello sir! I just would like to know what do they check for when you take a blood test at meps? Thanks!

  7. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Steven,

    The drug test is via urine, and not blood. The list of substances that is tested for is listed in the article.

  8. L says:

    Hello,

    I have been meeting with Navy recruiters on the Officer and Enlisted side for a week now as I am seeking a career within the Navy Fleet after graduating University in Mechanical Engineering. I have found that an abundance of mental health history can disqualify me. Please allow me to explain. In my early 20’s I drank alcohol as a social lubricant many too times and as an immature 21 year old decided to enjoy alcohol rather than finishing college. Fast forwarding a few years, my parents forced me to attend two rehabilitation centers, one outpatient when I was away at college and one inpatient, as I pissed them off on one night from a drinking episode. My parents are hard core southern Baptists that don’t believe in drinking, smoking and dancing and demanded these things of me in order to continue receiving college tuition payments. I later received a DWI in the state of Texas and was demanded to attend AA meetings and another outpatient rehab as part of the probation requirements. I followed the instruction of the court system to attend rehab, AA meetings, and seek a psychiatrist in case of possible diagnosis of x,y,z symptoms that I may or may not have. After receiving my DWI 3 years ago and serving probation and following all requirements of me by the court and of my loving parents to continue again caring for me as I was slow to mature and rebellious to grow up, I have finally grown up. I no longer require any form of medications and haven’t taken any for some time as I am able to move through life as a regular human being. I just don’t drink alcohol.. I don’t require it, and I don’t need it. Alcohol affects many people many different ways. I don’t believe I was ever dependent, but I did drink a lot in the past. It’s been 3 years since my last drink and don’t ever plan to touch it again. My question for you is, will MEPS review the information I give them and consider walking the fine lines to waiver after waiver as it may require it to process me for a fruitful career within the Navy while holding a Mechanical Engineering degree???

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:

    L,

    Theoretically, waiver consideration for alcohol rehab can happen after a minimum of two years post all treatment (counseling, medications, etc.). If all treatment has completed and two years have passed, you would need to gather any and all medical and treatment records related to your alcohol issues. MEPS will review the records and disapprove you for processing. It will then be up to the Navy to decide whether or not they would consider telling MEPS to provide a physical and psychiatric consultation. If they do, then after the physical is completed (you will remain disqualified on MEPS records), the physical and consultation records would be sent to CNRC N3M (medical) for consideration of the waiver. If the Navy refuses to direct MEPS to complete the physical, then you would need to try another branch of service.

  10. Chuck says:

    About a month ago I started the recruitment process by calling a recruiting office and asking to be put in contact with a recruiter. Over the phone I told him that I have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and have been treated with medication for it in the past. He told me “don’t even worry about it, we won’t write it down.” When I went in to meet him we talked for an hour and a half before starting some paperwork and what I believe is the pre screening test for MEPS. That’s when I brought up the ADD/ADHD again and he told me not to worry about and called the Chief over to talk about and even the Chief said “don’t open that can of worms.” Unfortunately I trusted them and signed the paperwork saying NO to an ADD/ADHD diagnosis. However I slept on it and called him the next day and told him we had to discuss the fact that I was told to lie on paper and that I wanted to change that NO to a YES even if I meant I was disqualified from service. He now wants my treatment records and I’m in the process of obtaining them. My big question is, does it jeopardize my chances of getting in that I’m changing the NO to a YES. My mom is a witness to them telling me to lie. I fully understand the steps that need to be taken with my diagnosis. Thank you

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Chuck,

    You are MUCH better off being honest. By ensuring your application is accurate and the proper steps for enlistment are followed, you are doing the absolute right thing.

  12. Jen says:

    Hey there!

    I am planning to apply to Navy OCS after I graduate from college (I am 20, college junior). I have good grades, leadership, and test scores, and I am in excellent physical shape. When I was 17 I was given a citation for misdemeanor larceny and it was dismissed and expunged. I still get a pit in my stomach thinking about my juvenile mistake because it was completely out of character and not like me. I have read that this is eligible to be waived. However, I have also used marijuana a few times awhile ago and tried cocaine once. I was a very impressionable teen and trying to figure out the world and I did this by experimenting. Also not like me which I quickly realized and snapped out of it…. I live an extremely healthy lifestyle and will continue to do so the rest of my life. No drugs, no alcohol, nothing. Oh what I would do to go back now! Do you think all of this can be looked past since I am now a level-headed and extremely viable candidate for OCS?

    Thanks in advance for your time and advice.

  13. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Jen,

    A waiver for both the drug use and police involvement is possible; whether or not you are selected will depend on how you stack up against the other candidates being boarded for the same officer designator which you applied.

  14. Hank says:

    I swore in on Monday , but I don’t leave for boot camp until Jan. I had an abscess on one of my tonsils last year and the ENT suggested I remove them to prevent it from happening again. I never had the surgery. If it flares while in boot camp and I have to have surgery am I kicked out, or just have to redo once I am recovered ?

  15. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Hank,

    I doubt that you would be discharged if your tonsils flared up while in boot-camp.

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