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Drugs and the Navy Do Not Mix Pg-1

MEPS Drug and Alcohol Testing (DAT) Program

Written by
Published: July 9, 2008
Updated: June 3, 2019

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

  1. Ashley says:

    what about if they test dirty while at RTC?
    my brother went and we heard he tested dirty for marijuana..
    please fillm e in..

  2. NCCM(ret) says:

    If you test positive for illegal drugs when you get to RTC, you will be discharged and sent home in very short order.

  3. John says:

    Ok, so this is really hard for me to talk about. I have always planned on joining a branch of the service ever since I was a little kid dressing up in uniform. However, last May I became interested in the Marine OCS program. I was immediately roushed within a week to MEPS. The week prior to speaking to the RO, I had tried Marijuana for the first time. I am in college, an engineering student, So it was my first time. Needless to say I did not pass the pee test at MEPS. What Can I do? Is this the end for me? I want to serve my country, and I am sober as a judge. MEPS was never explained to me, I had no clue what it was. Please help!

  4. NCCM(ret) says:

    The Navy’s policy is clear. With the positive DAT at MEPS you are not eligible to join. I suggest you check with the other services as I am not fully aware of their policy.

  5. Gene says:

    I went through rehab a couple of years ago, and have been clean ever since. I’ve never had any legal issues except for speeding tickets. I have not told my recruiters about rehab, because I’m nervous that it will keep me from being able to enlist. What are my chances of getting through RTC… I’m almost done with MEPS.

  6. NCCM(ret) says:


    MEPS or the Navy may never find out about your past experience with rehab,
    but you will know. The rehab, and the drug or alcohol use that lead to it,
    may very well be disqualifying and the result may hurt, but your conscience
    will be clear by being up front and honest.

    Good luck to you.

  7. Sussy says:

    My 19 year old son went to see a Navy recruiter with out me or his dad knowing anything about it. He called me later and told me that he had went to see a recruiter & that he did a urine test and the following week he was to go to MEPS. Well sometime later after he went through MEPS he received a letter saying that he tested positive for pot. They had done a blood test that revealed that there remained some trace of pot. He has been clean for months and tried to re-enlist but was told that he could’nt enlist in the Navy or Airforce due to that test, his S.S. # has been flagged. His dad or I approve of the use of pot and he was raised in that way. My question is to you why does the Navy have double standards–if he would have tested positive to alcohol he would be in the same situation yet it is sold on post!! Our son has never been in trouble in any way. He has no criminal record of any kind, yet because he made a bad decision once (that I might add harmed no one), and was not informed by his recruiter he will not be able to serve in the Navy!!!! Something is wrong with this picture!!!!!

  8. henry says:

    i have already taken my drug test at meps…actually i completed everything there and passed everything with good marks. this was like 4 months ago. my recruiter is putting me into delayed entry and he says i need to swear in and they are going to review all my tests and stuff including my physical, will i be screened for drugs again?

  9. NCCM(ret) says:

    You have passed the DAT test, but I suggest that you NEVER go to MEPS if you think you will produce a positive test because you never know if they had an issue with your first test and you need a retest (lab lost the initial sample, it got contaminated somehow, etc.)

    That said, if you used drugs after meeting with your Recruiter and taking the physical, you really need to do some self evaluation on how you plan to live your life.

  10. Ian Kazy says:

    Don’t use drugs in DEP. It ruined my entire life. I’ve got nothing left but the small, small hope that one day I may get the chance to serve again….but, probably not.

  11. monica says:

    I was taking perscription adderral and failed the MEPS test. Do I have any recourse? Can I file a request to review additional information from my doctor?

  12. NCCM(ret) says:


    Yes, you need to get this cleared up – have your recruiter send the documents to MEPS explaining that you were taking the Adderral as prescribed. That should get you from being barred (disqualified for drug use) in the future.

    The problem you will have now is that Adderral is normally prescribed for ADHD which is a condition that is disqualifying for a minimum of one year AFTER your doctor takes you off the medication.

  13. Wannabe Sailor says:

    Hello, I want to join the Navy and be a Linguist (which to my knowledge requires a SSBI), I have socially partook in Marijuana during my Freshman, Sophomore, and the first few months of my Junior year. However, when I decided I would be joining the Military I quit on January 1, 2010 and I have been clean since. I wish I could have gone back and changed my past mistakes. How will these past experimentation’s affect my enlistment in the Navy, and my SSBI screening? I plan to join next year when I turn 18, in the summer of 2011.

  14. NCCM(ret) says:


    Because you used MJ for more than just a few times, you will require and enlistment waiver just to enter the Navy, then you will require a program waiver to be eligible for the Cryptologic Technician rating.

  15. rh says:


    I am currently looking into ocs for army or navy. I have one blemish on my record currently. toward the end of my bachelor program going into my mba program i was using marijuana rather frequently. I got pulled over one night and was given a possession charge. it was a small amount and i was not acutally taken in. after a year of probation it was removed from my record. i do however know that even though it has been removed from my record during a background check they will still see the city records of my arrest and probation. other than this i have a clean history, have been in leadership positions within my past employers and have performed some community service. The charge was a wake up and i have since ceased using the drug due to goals i have set for myself and the likelihood of not accomplishing the otherwise. this was a little more than 3 years ago.

    When speaking with the army recruiter i was told that there are no waivers this year. he stated that otherwise i was a great candidate but there could be no exceptions on the drug charge. he than told me that he thought the navy may still be doing waivers for this. I am checking with the navy recruiter tomorrow but if i am denied am i just out of luck? I understand i made my mistake and must live with the consequences. I am just hoping there is still some shot of making this work. I have been told that there are quotas and they have been filled for this year so if i continue to try things may change after a few months. Is this true? What is the best course of action? Thank you in advance for any input that can be given

  16. NCCM(ret) says:


    With the single possession charge, according to the manual, you are within waverable limits – what I do not know is if waviers for that charge are currently being considered.

    From the manual;

    If the applicant admits to drug abuse and requests consideration, the following information concerning the circumstances of past drug abuse involvement will be obtained:
    1. Type(s) of drug(s) abused
    2. Number of times, approximate dates and amounts
    3. Period over which taken
    4. Last involvement
    5. Civil involvement


    Those applicants requiring drug waivers will be considered for a pre-service drug abuse waiver based upon the type and extent of drug abuse, expressed attitude toward past and future drug abuse, suitability under the whole-person concept, and the recommendation of the cognizant NAVCRUITDIST CO, XO.


    No individual will be accepted in any [officer program] who has:
    (1) Been addicted, or physically or psychologically
    dependent on any drug or alcohol
    (2) Been a trafficker of illegal drugs
    (3) Abused narcotics
    (4) Abused dangerous drugs
    (5) Abused marijuana within the past year

    Your Recruiter is your best resource, and will give you the proper answers to the questions you ask – I worked with the enlisted programs, and only have limited knowledge of the processing requirements/openings. He will have a much better “big picture” look than I. Make sure it is an Officer Programs Recruiter that you are speaking too.

  17. Victoria says:

    I tried marijuana twice, once in my sophomore year, and again a few months ago (I hate it and have no intention of ever attempting that ever again). Will this effect my ability to enlist? What do I say to the recruitment officers?

  18. NCCM(ret) says:


    You may require a waiver depending on the jobs you apply for.

    Always tell the truth.

  19. little1 says:

    I went to an air force recruiter and told him the truth… that I have smoked pot a couple of times and have also done mushrooms once and extacy twice. He told me that because of the extacy and shrooms that I will never be able to join the U.S. Air Force. I want to join badly and I’ve stopped participating in all drugs for over a year. I want to clean up my life and join the military like my dad. what should I do? please help if you have any suggestions. or tell me if theres really no way I can get into the air force. Does the AF keep a record of all people never allowed to enlist because of past drug use?

  20. NCCM(ret) says:


    Recruiters keep records of those they talked to, and the details of those conversations.

  21. Lauren says:

    How often are sailors drug tested? are they tested when they return from leave? are they tested after a weekend off?

  22. NCCM(ret) says:


    The testing after boot camp continues. When you are tested is random and frequent.

  23. hannz says:

    2 days ago I made a horrific decision and tried meth (for the first time) knowing I had a deployment date of next year. However the following day I received a phone a call from my recruiter telling me I got orders to ship ahead within 3-4 weeks. I’ve since made plans with a drug rehab counselor to critique my recent decision making and understanding why I made the choices I have. He assured me all tests would prove negative for meth (the only drug I’ve done) by the time I get to boot camp in 3 weeks. I can’t help but still worry, immensely, and feel I’ve shot the only chance I’ve got. Is my counselor correct in thinking I’ll be safe with urinalysis testing?

  24. NCCM(ret) says:


    Because you used the drug while in DEP you should be discharged. After a one year waiting period, if it was your only time using the drug, you could re-enlist as long as the NRD Commanding Officer grants you a waiver.

  25. hannz says:

    So it will show up in my urinalysis testing at basic?

  26. Olley says:

    Hello, I have a question about the Navy’s alcohol dependence policy for enlistment. I have never had any treatment for alcohol abuse but just after I stopped drinking I mentioned to my doctor that I had gone to some AA meetings because I thought I might be an alcoholic (seeing him for an unrelated issue). This is the only mention (legal or medical) of alcohol on my record. I stopped partying and changed my friend group so that I have a better, more fulfilling life. Even though I haven’t had any medical treatment, would I still be barred from enlistment in the Navy?

  27. NCCM(ret) says:


    First off, worst case, if it is considered a problem at MEPS, and it was over 2 years ago, it may be waiverable. I would be interested to hear the out-come of your case.

  28. Olley says:

    It will be two solid years ago this November. I hope you are right. I am meeting with an Army recruiter tomorrow and I am going to be straight up about the whole deal (I will also talk to Navy). I am already planning on not being eligible for any type of security clearance, but as a lower level guy probably wouldn’t be dealing with that anyhow. Thanks for posting back! I have high hopes and I’ll keep you updated!

  29. Jimbo Slice says:

    I passed an EMIT test for MJ, but wanted to know my exact levels so I had a GC/MS done and tested at 6ng/ml. Is that enough to pass at MEPS or should I wait another couple weeks? Any advice for the ZERO tolerance guidline???

  30. NCCM(ret) says:


    Because of the finality that a positive result would bring, I would wait a couple of more weeks, minimum – why chance it, right?

  31. bobby says:

    if a doctor prescribed me suboxone for a year will this count as Being physically depenet on a drug and not qualify me. also is nuclear engineering a field that is exclued to someone that required a drug waiver?

  32. ashley says:

    will a dismissed pot charge disqualify me from the navy?
    was dismissed in 2009 after rehabilitation classes was in possesion of a pipe with resign in it but was charged for possesion of marijuana.

  33. NCCM(ret) says:


    I assume you were prescribed suboxone because you were dependent on another drug?

  34. NCCM(ret) says:


    For more specific information concerning moral and drug waivers, search in the side bar for “moral waivers” and “drug waivers” (2 separate articles).

  35. Bill says:

    How long do applicants to Marine OCS have to wait between MJ use and applying for a waiver?

  36. NCCM(ret) says:


    Having never worked with Marine Officer Recruiting, I can not give you a proper answer.

  37. Shelby says:

    My niece is dating someone who is in the Navy and we believe he has a heroin/prescription drug addiction. We have been urging him to get help but he says he will do it on his own, which can be very difficult and dangerous to go through the detox process alone. Does the Navy have any support system to deal with drug addiction? Would he be immediately separated from the Navy? I am trying to understand where his hesitancy is as he seems to want help but is afraid to ask for it. If the testing policy is so stringent how is it he hasnt been caught?
    Thank you we would like to help this young man if possible.

  38. NCCM(ret) says:


    The Navy has a random urinalysis program, if he is using heroin, he should be caught. When he is caught, he will receive a discharge, more than likely a less than honorable, and he will lose his benefits (ie, GI Bill, etc.)

  39. Shelby says:

    Thank you for the quick response, hopefully we are wrong. So I guess there is no internal program to rehabilitate addicts, they cannot ask for help and still remain in the service? I can understand the rational, there is no place for drugs in the military.

  40. Mike says:

    Hey, I am a student that is very interested in the medical field and is planning on joining either the Navy or Air Force. The problem is, when i spoke to the recruiters they asked if I had a past with drug use and i simply said no. I am clean now and am not proud of my past with experimental drug use. I feel bad for lying, honesty really is the way to go. I just did not want my past use of drugs to affect being enlisted. when i meet with the recruiters in person I plan on apologizing and being honest with them. Will their decision to enlist me sway due to me lying to them?

  41. NCCM(ret) says:


    I applaud and admire your courage to right a previous wrong.

    In the case of enlisting, lying could cause a Recruiter to lose trust in you, and the Recruiter may decide not to process you – but more likely, the Recruiter will continue the process because you did stand up and make the correction, especially before your started any paperwork.

  42. Mike says:

    Thank you for the prompt reply! I spoke to the recruiters and it went very well. He told me he appreciated the honesty. Definetly a heavy burden off my shoulders. Thanks for the information!

  43. steve says:

    my son got pulled over one night for a broken tailight in my car cop found a 5 inch knife had a k-9 search car dog supposedly got hit on car found a shard of marijuana in car by the way what is a shard a tiny piece anyway he never got a breathtest urine test or roadside check cop gave ticket for knife speeding and broken light along with a broken license got a lawyer and got all put under a diversion plan which was completed succesfully what happens when the navy sees the court doc that says they found a shard but was never charged for it will he still get a waiver far worse people have been taken in i am concerned the boy wants to join what can he do to make this right and is the recruiter just giving him a hard time please reply thankyou very much

  44. Marion says:

    I know someone who wants to join the Navy. He’s 18, but he used to do heroin. Will he be allowed to enlist even if he is drug free today?

    Thank you.

  45. NCCM(ret) says:


    As long as the proper amount of time has passed, and he has otherwise remained qualified, he would be eligible for a waiver. However, people usually need some sort of treatment to get off heroin, and that treatment would also invoke another waiver beyond the drug use waiver;

    Waiver Process for Prior Drug and/or Alcohol Dependency

    If you have been psychologically or physically dependent upon drugs or alcohol, recruiting personnel may request a Commander, Navy Recruiting Command eligibility determination when the pre-service dependency has been resolved in such a way that there is little likelihood that such behavior will recur. Your MEPS physical must include a psychiatric consultation.

    You may be considered a good risk for entry into the Navy if:

    * a. You have successfully abstained from drugs and alcohol for more than two years,
    * b. Your employment history or school attendance subsequent to rehabilitation is favorable, and
    * c. You appear well motivated.
    * d. A minimum of two years has elapsed since release from treatment.

  46. NCCM(ret) says:


    He would be considered guilty, for enlistment purposes, of every charge listed in the police complaint. You would need to examine the wavier matrix and compare his charges to see what waiver authority (if waiverable) he would fall under. The waiver matrix is on this page.

  47. anna says:

    Hello, two years ago i was interested in joining and had gone to MEPS to do all my testing. During my testing they found my urine was high in protein, later finding out it was kidney stones. I had went home and my bf and his friends hot boxed the car. A week later, after i removed the kidney stones i went back to MEPS and my urine was positive for thc…I really want to serve in the Navy but i’m scared i’ve already ruined my chance :(

  48. NCCM(ret) says:


    A positive drug test at MEPS disqualifies you for life for the Navy. I am pretty sure it is now the same for all services.

  49. david says:

    suzzy had a very good question about pot and alcohol.

    at the los angeles recruiting center i went to, the guy working there who gave me a ride to my asfab test admitted openly that he and other navy guys drank alcohol very heavily.

    and if you test positive for alcohol, you can come back in 45 days? but never for pot?

    this seems to be an immature viewpoint on pot. there’s plenty of antisocial and anti-authority thugs out there who don’t smoke pot.

  50. NCCM(ret) says:


    Marijuana is an illegal substance, alcohol is not.

  51. Chuck says:

    Master Chief,
    I have a question regarding a drug waiver for an OCS application.
    I received a waiver for the IT/SG program after I enlisted. The waiver was for “One-time drug use — RTC disclosed.” (Steroid use, 1 cycle over 2-3 week period) I have been in the Navy over 7 years now and this is the one large blemish on my record.

    Since the waiver was for a specific program, I am guessing that I would have to submit a new waiver for this incident in order to apply for OCS? If this is the case, do you have an idea of how this will impact my chance of being selected? (the rest of my record is fairly solid – mostly EP evals, Bachelors/Masters degrees with 3.8 GPA, high test scores, etc.)

    Thank you for your time,


  52. GODISGREAT says:

    HI my friend is Considering Joining the Navy. And he actually has had a medical Marijuanna card. do u think that will be a problem with him trying to enlist even though he doesnt have one now… Are u allowed to be in the military and have prescribed buds.? Let me know and thank you Buds

  53. NCCM(ret) says:


    It will be considered, but your documented service while in the Navy will weight the most, by far.

    Good luck!

  54. NCCM(ret) says:


    The federal government, including the Navy, does not recognize marijuana as a drug for medical treatment – it is in fact illegal, and due to that fact, any use of the drug, prescribed or not, will meet the same waiver requirements. A person serving in the military is NOT authorized to use marijuana, even if prescribed by a physician.

  55. GODISGREAT says:

    okay so it is better to just not mention that he had a card to avoid all the waiver fuss and stuff okay thanx cheif God Bless you

  56. Alex says:

    I recently decided to join the navy. But on the subject of pot, I’ve been around it alot but have never done it. I’m afraid that I might have picked up traces of THC by second hand smoke and I’m terrified of going to meps and failing my drug test. Any pointers you can give me?

  57. NCCM(ret) says:


    Your recruiter should give you a drug test in the office before you go to MEPS – Incidentally, I have not seen a case where someone produced a positive test because of second hand smoke.

  58. Alex says:

    Thank you so much! Seeing that post truly lifts the weight off of my shoulders! So let me get this straight. When I go to my recruiter he will give me a pee test to make sure I’ll pass my meps drug test? And should i tell my recurtier that I’ve been around pot?

    Thanks ahead of time


  59. NCCM(ret) says:


    Honesty is always the best policy.

  60. Ryan says:

    I am considering applying for the Navy reserves. I wanted to know if my past marijuana use would be a major issue and lead to a potential disqualification. I am currently in my thirties and about two years ago consumed a small piece of cookie laced with marijuana. Additionally, in my teens I tried pot maybe three times. Knowing this, would I face serious hurdles in moving forward? Further, would this limit the opportunities I would potentially be eligible for?

    Thanks in advance.


  61. NCCM(ret) says:


    A drug waiver may be required for enlistment or for the program you enter.

  62. steven says:

    I really want to join the Navy but here is my issue, I am 29 years old and since I was 19 I have been around marijuana off and on, i realized that it is not for me for I want a good life and be an influence on my country, so I have did away with the childish way and am fully convinced
    this is what I am Passionate about The Navy,as I would like to major in Nuclear Science or Radiation Therapist,and I have been away from old friends and mj since Aug 7th for good!! I am a bit wary as I was never in trouble for until 6 years ago I received a ticket for possession of Mj I was devastated as it did not belong to me, but I take the blame for allowing my friend at the time to carry it in my car. I had the option to pay for it or go to school, so I just paid it, I was not arrested, but upset, will this bar me from the Navy? Should I go to the commissioner and ask for school as he dropped the case from a misdemeanor to an infraction as I paid triple the amount?Also I have been running and working out a lot to naturally get rid of any trace of THC that might still linger in me as I really want the Navy as a part of my life! I am considering waiting until DEC or even Jan 2012 to fully go through with the paper work just to make certain I do not embarrass my self or ruin any chance that there may be if I go to MEPS and to discipline myself to fully commit to the Navy. What is your take? And lastly I am in need of doing my taxes of 2 years,which I am going to do and sure I will pay a penalty for it which I accept , will that have an effect on any chance I have? I really would appreciate any Advise you could give? Thanks Steven

  63. NCCM(ret) says:


    Because of the possession of MJ charge, you would not be eligible for any job in the medical field, nor any job in the nuclear field, but you could receive a waiver to enlist in other programs.

    Your recruiter should have a drug test kit in the office to ensure you are not positive for drugs before you go to MEPS. As a general rule, I suggest waiting a minimum of 90 days before you try, might be excessive, but safer.

  64. Michael P says:

    Hi, I was diagnosed with alcohol abuse but not dependence due to an incident in which I was admitted to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. Also, my university police gave me a ticket for minor in possession of alcohol – this was expunged from my record once I completed the alcohol evaluation that resulted in my diagnosis.

    This all happened about 3 months ago and since then I’ve stayed away from alcohol and been clean overall. Can you help me out in describing what sorts of hurdles will I face with a Navy recruiter and at MEPS? Thanks in advance

  65. NCCM(ret) says:


    Your medical documents that produced the diagnosis will have to be submitted to MEPS medical for review, and if MEPS medical approves you for continued processing, and If the single possession of alcohol by a minor charge is your only charge and you are otherwise qualified, then you should be good to go.

  66. Michael P says:

    Thanks for your help. I hate to keep prying, but do you know for what kinds of reason MEPS medical might not approve my processing? Would it just be a reluctance to issue alcohol/drug waivers in general?

  67. NCCM(ret) says:


    Based on what you are telling me, you should be fine, but the medical records will have to be reviewed to ensure there was no dependence diagnosed.

  68. Michael P says:

    Thanks, sounds good. One last question sir, would I need to submit my hospitalization records in addition to the diagnosis of alcohol abuse or are they not necessary?

  69. NCCM(ret) says:


    MEPS would want all the records.

  70. Xavier says:

    I’ve enlisted in the navy and went to meps, but might possibly be found convicted of a dui with a prior but waived tickect of public intox and minor consumption of mj. Are my chances of joining over?

  71. NCCM(ret) says:


    With the DUI, you will have to be discharged as a DUI has a minimum one year waiting period before you can be considered for a waiver.

  72. daniel says:

    I have been wanting to join the navy for sometime now, i have stopped my mj use but my friends have hotboxed their cars recently with me in it many of time. I didnt leave the car because i didnt think it would affect me,i found out i can still test positive and i am going to see a recuiter tomorrow, and i thinks its meps. What, if anything can be done??

  73. NCCM(ret) says:


    If you haven’t completed an application and scheduled a time to go to MEPS, then you are not going to MEPS. That said, I doubt you will be seeing a recruiter tomorrow as all the offices will be closed this weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday.

  74. kyle says:

    i went to meps and failed the drug test for adderall a methamphedamine and a controlled substance.i was perscribed it as a child and have maintained the perscription throughout i used it periodically in situations where i knew extra focus and concentration would be beneficial,i in no way shape or form need the drug to function nor complete my day to day tasks but thats neither here nor there.i was sent a letter in the mail stating that i had been suspended for one calendar year from the date i went up to meps (my 18th bday) my question is will my failed drug test taken while trying to join the navy hinder me from joining another branch of the military ? or do they function independently among each branch

  75. NCCM(ret) says:


    The result of the DAT is used by all services.

    Methamphetamine is an illegal drug – Adderall is an amphetamine (without the Meth). If you were found to have methamphetamine, you are done – nothing you can do. If you had the result Adderall would produce, then supply the current prescription to the MEPS showing you are supposed to be taking the drug – absent the prescription, you were taking it illegally, and you are done – nothing you can do.

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