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Drugs and the Navy Do Not Mix

MEPS Drug and Alcohol Testing (DAT) Program

Written by
Published: July 9, 2008
Updated: March 26, 2021

Major Update: The Navy, effective, April 1, 2021, will lift the ban on enlistment for those who previously tested positive for marijuana during a two year pilot program (if the failure was due to ANY other drug, the ban remains with NO waiver authorized).

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 affect 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.


Begin NAVADMIN 125/19


UNCLASSIFIED//
ROUTINE
R 031653Z JUN 19
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC
TO NAVADMIN
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC
BT
UNCLAS

NAVADMIN 125/19

PASS TO OFFICE CODES:
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1//
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1//
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N1/JUN//

SUBJ/NOTIFICATION OF DRUG TESTING PROGRAM REVISIONS – INITIATION OF FENTANYL AND NORFENTANYL TESTING//

REF/A/DOC/DOD/29MAR19//
REF/B/DOC/OPNAV/4JUN09//
NARR/REF A IS DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD) NOTICE OF THE EXPANSION OF DOD PANEL OF TESTED DRUGS TO INCLUDE FENTANYL AND NORFENTANYL.
REF B IS OPNAVINST 5350.4D, NAVY ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONTROL.

RMKS/1. This NAVADMIN announces the expansion of the Department of Defenses ability to conduct random drug testing for the manufactured opiates Fentanyl and Norfentanyl. Members determined as abusing drugs face punitive action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 112a. Effective immediately, Navy Drug Screening Laboratories will add Fentanyl and Norfentanyl to the standard drug testing panel for urinalysis samples submitted for testing as announced in reference (a).

2. Navy policy remains clear with regards to substance abuse: zero tolerance. Sailors determined as using drugs shall be disciplined as appropriate and processed for administrative separation and may receive an Other than Honorable characterization of service which could affect their veteran benefits and employment opportunities.
Additionally, the Navy reports unlawful drug users to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which impacts the ability to purchase firearms or ammunition. It is the responsibility of every Sailor to ensure that he or she is diligent in avoiding intentional or accidental exposure to federally-prohibited substances.

3. Point of contact is Mrs. LaNorfeia Parker, Director, Navy Drug Detection and Deterrence, OPNAV N17, at (901) 874-4249/DSN 882 or via e-mail at lanorfeia.parker(at)navy.mil.

4. Released by Vice Admiral John B. Nowell, Jr, N1.//

BT
#0001
NNNN
UNCLASSIFIED//




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


  1. Alex says:

    Hi there sir,
    I’ve a bit confused about the MEPS drug test. I can pass 50ng tests all day, but my friend in the Army told me that MEPS does an inital drug test at 50ng, and if you fail that, then you are retested again at the 15ng threshold.
    Could you possibly clarify which one it is?I’m hearing a lot of conflicting stuff on the initial vs retested drug test

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Alex,

    If you question whether or not you can pass given the Marijuana metabolite (THCA): 15 ng/mL threshold, don’t go to MEPS. Better safe than sorry.

  3. Ann says:

    My son took a drug test at the Navy recruiters office and tested clean. He went to MEPS two days later and failed the drug test. He was clean for everything except CBD Oils? He tested clean for THC. The recruiter called him and did he didn’t know they tested for that. My son is broken hearted he was excited and ready to join the Navy. Is there any way for him to get a waiver and reapply?

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Ann,

    The Navy will not allow waiver consideration for a MEPS failed drug test.

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Unless otherwise noted, content written by Thomas Goering, NCCM USN(RET).

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