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Navy Enlistment Policy for Prior Drug Usage

Navy Drug Waivers

Updated: October 13, 2017

There is not a day that goes by that I do not receive an email or comment that goes something like these few examples, “How many times could I have smoked marijuana and still be eligible for an intel job?”, “My charges say I was arrested for possession with intent, but it was my friends stuff he had. Do I need a waiver?”, and just today, “Any information on whether a single instance of hallucinogenic mushroom use is waiverable?” As those of you know based on the email responses, I will not describe to you how many times you could have used a drug and still be within waiverable limits. I expect you to be honest with the Navy, and I do not want to influence an answer by showing limits.

The Department of the Navy’s policy on pre-service drug use/abuse;

Department of the Navy policy is that drug and alcohol dependent applicants, current drug and alcohol abusers, and those individuals whose pre-service abuse of drugs and/or alcohol indicates a proclivity to continue abuse in the service, are not permitted to enter the naval service. The Navy recognizes that some people have clear potential to become creditable performers despite past exposure to drug and/or alcohol abuse. Recruiting procedures must include positive measures to identify and screen out drug and/or alcohol abusers at the point of application for enlistment.

The Navy’s policy is pretty clear. If you desire to continue use or abuse controlled substances, the Navy does not want you, period. But if you have stopped the use, completely stopped, and have no desire or intent to illegally use or abuse controlled substances again, you may be eligible for a waiver that, if granted, would allow you to serve in the United States Navy.

The use of controlled substances such as, narcotics, depressants, psychedelic, stimulant, synthetic/designer, hallucinogenic (LSD is two year) is a minimum of a one year waiting period after use before a waiver could be considered. If you ever tested positive for any illegal drugs at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), there are no waivers, no do overs, you’re done. So, where you can process after using marijuana, understand it had better have been your last time and you had better not have any residual THC still flowing through your veins when you go to MEPS. Consider yourself notified.

If you have ever been a distributor, trafficker, supplier, seller, for profit or not, of illegal drugs, and even if you are arrested for possession with the just the intent to distribute of illegal drugs or any controlled substance that you are not legally certified to distribute, you are banned from joining the military forever. There are no waivers, no do overs, you’re done.

If you have been convicted or adversely adjudicated for two or more drug or alcohol offenses, you require a drug or alcohol waiver. Keep in mind that an alcohol and/or drug offense waiver is in addition to any conduct waiver that you may also need.

The Department of the Navy’s policy of in-service drug use/abuse is ZERO TOLERANCE. One time and you are done; no do overs, no waivers, done, and in most cases, say goodbye to any benefits you may have earned – even the GI-Bill and VA mortgage benefits.

Applicants with pre-service conduct waivers (drug, alcohol, or criminal) are disqualified for overseas assignment for their first duty station.

Policy UPDATE as of November 5, 2013:

“Program eligibility has been revised for AIRR, EOD, ND, SO and SB ratings. BUPERS-32 has authorized Navy Recruiting Command (N32) to approve program eligibility determinations for drug abuse offenses involving marijuana only. Approvals may be made on a case-by-case basis for applicants with no more than one misdemeanor drug abuse offense (e.g. possession of marijuana or paraphernalia). Drug abuse offenses involving drugs other than marijuana will not be considered. Use of marijuana while in DEP will result in loss of AIRR, EOD, ND, SO or SB rating guarantee for those previously approved with a drug abuse offense. Policies involving use of other drugs remain unchanged.”

“For the Nuclear Field Program, any marijuana use while in DEP is disqualifying. No waivers are authorized.”

Drug testing while in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP):Current policy per COMNAVCRUITCOMINST 1130.9L, released on October 20, 2014, the drug test for drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamines will be given at your 30 day and 24 hour DEP recertification completed before boot-camp; additionally, the commanding officer of the Navy Recruiting District can order up to three additional tests at his/her discretion (random). You will again be tested within 24 hours of arriving to boot-camp.

This is about as detailed as I will get on the subject of drug waivers.

MAJOR UPDATE: effective immediately (July 16, 2015), the Delayed Entry Program Non-Instrumented Drug Testing program (NIDT) has been eliminated. Drug testing in the Navy DEP will no longer take place. The rules for a positive drug test at MEPS and at boot-camp remain the same — it you are positive for any illegal drug, you will be discharged immediately — no waivers authorized.

2,463 Responses to “Navy Drug Waivers”

  1. Jay says:

    I have had a past use of MJ for a few years. I allowed myself to be misguided into doing it and have reformed. I no longer wanna continue that sort of unrewarding lifestyle and wanna make positive changes in my life. And I want to serve the military and do my duties and get a degree possibly in criminal justice or federal law. I have no criminal charges and any tickets I had have met the year requirements to come off my driving record. And in college I did take Crime Scene Management courses. Would I be elligble to become a Master At Arms or would they flat out deny me any position in the military? I wanna join become better then what I have been. Would that drive help me?

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It would be up to the commanding officer to consider a drug abuse waiver for both general enlistment and the MA rating — not to mention that the rating would have to be available when you process. For the Master at Arms rating, you cannot have had used marijuana in the past 36 months — thee is no waiver to that minimum time requirement (prior to a change last month, any usage during your lifetime would not be considered for waiver for MA).

  3. Kayla. says:

    Okay I’m 18 rears old, just graduated high school. I’ve taken the asvab, I scored a 53. I went through meps about 2 weeks ago. I was set to leave for boot camp December 13 , well I got my first traffic ticket last week for going 40 in a 25. My recruiter said this wouldn’t be an issue with the navy. However, I was with a friend a few nights ago and I ended up getting charged with possession of marijuana. I was written a summons to go to court . I was just curious as to if I will be kicked out of the navy dep program??

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It depends on a lot of factors whether or not you will be discharged. If you required a waiver to join, discharge is very likely. If you have not yet told your recruiter — each day that passes without informing him/her increases the likelihood of discharge. The rating you enlisted for also matters. The amount of marijuana and the circumstances also matter.

  5. Kyra says:

    I have been scrolling for a few hours, trying to answer my question but haven’t come across a situation like mine. I am interested in working in Intelligence in the Navy, enlisted or officer, although from my research I can tell enlistment is more likely my option.
    I have a MIC from about 5 years ago, which has been expunged (I know they can see it still), I also have a misdemeanor DUI from almost 3 years ago, which I have completed all classes, paid tickets etc. for. In high school, I smoked marijuana quite often.
    In my freshman year of college, I joined NROTC, did it for a year and then decided I wanted to wait until after college to pursue the military and dropped it (this was prior to the DUI). My sophomore year, I lived with roommates who did drugs and drank a lot, this is when I got the DUI, my own fault completely though. During this time, I engaged in trying cocaine, xanax, and ecstasy a few times, what I would consider experimentation, as well as smoking and drinking. I regret that whole year and did everything I could to get myself into a better position, including moving home, quitting smoking, and not trying any more drugs since.
    Now, the positives. I have taken the pre-ASVAB and scored an 80, not studying, I am in the process of getting an international business degree (BA) as well as minoring in the Russian Language, which I have been learning since high school, and have the intention of becoming fluent in. In addition, I am very physically fit and could pass the PT tests with flying colors.
    I have all around, the past year and a half, become a completely different person. I am not planning on enlisting for another two years, but I am curious what your opinion on my situation is. I have the strongest desire to serve my country and will do anything it takes to get there.
    Thank you for your time.

  6. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I have no idea what the intel ratings minimum requirements will be in two years, but currently, a program waiver is possible, but not very likely. If you have a single episode of any of the things you mentioned, then I would say you had a good chance, but with the totality of it all I don’t know if the security manager would even grant permission to proceed with consideration.

    You would know the same day you went to MEPS once in front of the job classifier; if otherwise qualified and the rating available, the system would have him call a security manager for an indication whether the level of security clearance required for the rating would be possible — if one would be, then the program waiver consideration can happen. If the waiver is approved, that does NOT mean that the clearance will be granted. If later on the clearance is not granted, you would have to change jobs — that is why they go through that process in order to reduce as much as possible the requirement to change jobs or be discharged.

  7. Kyra says:

    Thank you. Does this mean you think other ratings would be still a possibility? Intel had always been my goal but just joining in general is the most important thing to me.

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You do require a Conduct, and an Alcohol and Drug Abuse waiver to join. Some Navy ratings do not require the additional program waiver the Intel and other high tech do. If you are granted your waivers for general enlistment, you should be a couple of Navy jobs to pick from.

  9. Rowena says:

    I recently inquired to air force about enlisting and told them I had gone to rehab for crystal meth. I have been sober for 4 years now of any drugs and have no plans to breaking my sobriety. I wanted to join the military to better my future and my family as well, but I was denied. The recruiter did tell me to enquire about the other forces but I was afraid of being blacklisted as well. Will that be the case in the Navy if I try to enlist?

  10. Ph says:

    My nephew is in boot camp and I’m concerned about his background. He failed an employers drug screen (for marijuana) and was let go from his job approx 1 week after starting. I know he disclosed the job on his entrance paperwork, but I think he said it was seasonal and did not mention the correct reason why he left. This job was approx a year ago, and he’s been clean since. I’m concerned now that this will be come up in the questionnaire to his former emploers while hes in boot camp, and he’ll get sent home…. Any opinion? Thanks

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A very difficult process. The medical waiver required is possible after a minimum of two years has passed from the completion of treatment; however, there is an additional waiver required for the drug usage itself that also must follow that approval. That waiver, too, is possible, but would not even be considered unless a number of factors are working in your favor such as local goaling (needs of the Navy), your education level, ASVAB score, work history, police involvement background, etc.

  12. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It is an issue that will affect his clearance — if he has joined for a job that requires a clearance and they decide not to grant it, he would either be forced into another job or forced out of the Navy.

  13. Matt says:

    I had a medical marijuana license while I lived in California for about 4 months
    And I’m planing of joining the navy this coming June-July
    I have not smoked in 3 months and plan to keep it that way
    I was wondering if this disqualifies me from joining ?

  14. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I assume the card has expired. What you need is the medical records that led to the doctor’s recommendation for the card. Those medical records will need to be reviewed. If the medical records have a diagnosis that requires a medical waiver, then that would have to be sought.

  15. Alonzo says:

    I was arrested at 16 for possession of marijuana and given 90 day probation and had to complete 24 hours community service I also have ADHD and took prescription pills legally will I need a waiver for both my misdemeanor and my ADHD. Will it decrease my odds of getting a waiver no other offenses on my record only the misdemeanor I want to try and join the marines but I just want to serve any answer will be appreciated.

  16. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You would need to ask a Marine Corps recruiter about your chances, but a medical waiver for ADHD (as long as you have been off the medication for a minimum of one year) and a Conduct waiver for simple marijuana possession is possible.

  17. Ken says:

    My son is 20 years old and has had a charge of possession about a year ago and I made him go to rehab for 7 days. Previously he was in the ROTC at college and did one semester. He scored very well on ASVAB and was an A student in HS. Is he still eligible to join the Navy having gone to REHAB?

  18. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It would depend on a lot of factors like, what was the drug? How much of the drug was possessed? Was there any indication of potential trafficking involved? How much and what type of drugs has he consumed during his lifetime? What was his diagnosis during rehab (dependent or addicted)?

  19. Alex [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    So back again. My recruiter said I would go through a waiver process for the misdemeanor I had way back but now there is a new development. I have recently had to take custody of my 3 month old daughter. I havnt had a chance yet to go back up to the office yet and let them know what’s been going on. ( I was getting a work history for the last 10 years to fill out for the NACIS security clearance Website) I wanted to know if there is any chance in hell of coming up with a family plan in case of deployment that would work. Or what guidelines the navy requires for being a single parent in the navy. Just a shot in the dark to ask on this forum, but this is where I had asked about the misdemeanor before.

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As a single parent, you are not eligible to join the active duty Navy. If you join the Reserve, you would require the Family Care Plan.

  21. Anthony says:

    I want to join the military but i have a misdemeanour possession of sch 2 substance because my friend left a capsule of his adhd medicine in my car it was only 1 pill. I have nothing else on my record and was wondering if any branch would even consider me, i can pass a drug test as well.

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A waiver is possible; to whether or not a branch will consider it will depend on their current waiver policy toward Major Misconduct Offenses and your competitiveness for approval (ASVAB score, education level, etc.).

  23. Perry says:

    I have 1 charge, possession of marijuana and drug parephenalia when I was 17 can I still become a SEAL or no?

  24. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You have two charges; they can only be classified as a single charge for general enlistment if CNRC legal determines it so, and they can only be classified as a single offense for the Special Warfare Operator rating if the program manager determines they can be grouped as one.

  25. Edward says:


    I am interested in an intel/cyber position, something which will likely require a TS clearance. I recieved an 80 on my ASVAB and also hold a 4-year degree, however, the issue is that I have a prior drug history. To be specific, I took an unprescribed Adderall pill during college in 2012. It was a one time thing and I took it for studying purposes. The Air Force flat out told me that I was disqualified. I haven’t yet gone through processing with the Navy since I am currently seeing how things with the Army flesh out, but the Navy recruiter mentioned that past drug usage would make me ineligible for intel positions. Could you help clarify this?

  26. NCCM(Ret) says:


    For the Navy’s Cryptologic Technician and Intelligence Specialist ratings, a Drug Use general enlistment and program waiver is possible to obtain according to COMNAVCRUITCOMINST 1130.8K (change 1; dated, May 2017), Exhibit 020903, Block C.

    Of course, the Navy job you seek would have to have an opening (openings don’t frequently occur; they are not large ratings, and they can be very picky about who they take), and you would also have to be otherwise very competitive for it — your degree will help.

  27. David says:

    Former active do the United States Marine. Two years after I got honorably discharged from the Marine Corps I found myself going to a drug rehabilitation program within the VA Hospital. I never considered myself addicted to anything but went to the program for a couple of weeks then voluntarily left. I’ve never had problems with drugs or alcohol but went to the facility due to the difficult transition from military to civilian life while experimenting with drugs. Since then, I’ve gone on to get my Master’s Degree and become very successful and comfortable as a civilian. I recently contacted a recruiter to put together a package to go back to active duty almost 10 years after being honorably discharged. Will I be disqualified due to the Rehab Clinic I went to for a couple of weeks at the VA Hospital two years after I initially got out?

  28. NCCM(Ret) says:


    All of your medical and treatment records would have to be submitted; your diagnosis concerning the substances will be important. The fact that your rehab treatment was inpatient does not bode well.

  29. Eric says:

    I read the last post from David. I went to an outpatient clinic at the VA hospital for drug use but was only there a very short time because I realized I didn’t have a problem nor was I addicted. I rarely use drugs but found myself at the clinic to get help because the depression that I was feeling after separation made me feel vulnerable to making bad choices. Would this make me disqualified from rejoining too? Honorable discharge here and habe been out almost 11 years. The short time I utilized the Outpatient Clinic was over nine years ago.

  30. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Any history of depression or addiction is DQ. The medical records must be reviewed to see if a medical waiver can/will be considered. They will also evaluate the actual drug usage to determine whether a drug use waiver would also be possible. It is not an easy road, and many do not meet the standard, but no matter how remote the possibility, the waivers are possible. the only way to find out is to find a recruiter willing to work with you and then bring those medical and treatment documents to the recruiter for submission and review by the MEPS.

  31. CHRIS says:

    Hello all, I am attempting to join the US Navy NOPOC program. I had surgery on my elbow (Ii have full range of motion but a small scar). I also used marijuana for one year and expiremented with 2 hallucinogenics. I understand I may be ineligible for the NUPOC program but do I still have a chance at other ratings?

  32. Mike says:

    My friend has a story and is looking for some answers and options because he wants to be a part of the US military more specifically the navy. “In November of 2016 I took the asvab scored 83 and attempted to join the marines however I was denied because I had a previous arrest in which I was pulled over and searched (as the passenger in a car), eventually I was charged with a misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance [marijuana + cocaine]. These were small amounts and I was offered a plea bargain to a disorderly conduct and was to pay a ticket and have the record sealed after a year without any other infractions. I also had two arrests before I turned 18 both assaults one was granted an ACD originally a third degree assault [labeled harassment] and another I plead guilty for a plea bargain to an E felony of attempted assault. I did 15 days community service and the felony got dropped down to a disorderly conduct and I paid a ticket. All records sealed. My recruiter said those two weren’t the issue it was the possession that might cause problems with a waiver and I never heard from him again. When I was arrested for the first two assaults I was under 18 in the state of New York but at the time the law was for those 16 and older to be charged as adults unlike it is now where the law has changed. I have all the paperwork on every case and provided the minutes of each one to the recruiter because he believed that it wouldn’t be an issue and that would clear me. I do not use any drugs, drink or smoke and I am healthy. I am currently 20 years old.” Any help would be of great importance to my friend and I will relay it to him directly.

  33. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Based on what you wrote, your friend has two adversely adjudicated Major Misconduct Offenses (the “E-felony” and the controlled substance charge). A waiver is not authorized for two Major Misconduct Offenses (unless they both were committed as a juvenile; additionally, a combination of 1 major misconduct and 3 or more additional offenses, other than traffic violations, is NOT authorized for a waiver.

    He cannot be processed for enlistment because he exceeds the maximum number and type of charges allowed by the Department of Defense that can be considered.

  34. George says:

    My 15yo son was found with pills(controlled substance)at school, he was suspended during the investigation(was not expelled)and ended up have to complete a class to get the charge expunged. Was eventually able to return to school as he was found to be telling the truth and the pills were not his. A drug test was performed the day of the incident which came back clean. He applied for the Navy, they requested a waiver due to the expunged charge. The waiver was denied with a 400 code, 428 I think. Is there any recourse as he was found not to be using, he was not charged with intent to distribute only possession? And does this disqualify him from any branch of service for life?

  35. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The 428 is not a waiver code; it is the code used to mark/label the offense to determine the waiver authority. An offense code of 428 is a Major Misconduct Offense, specifically, “Narcotics, or habit forming drugs; wrongful possession or use. (marijuana not included)”. A conduct waiver denial has no appeal process. It is not surprising that CNRC would disapprove a drug involved conduct waiver that occurred in or around a school.

    A branch of service waiver disapproval is only for that specific branch. He can apply to all the other branches.

  36. NCCM(Ret) says:


    True, you are not eligible for the NUPOC or the enlisted Nuclear Power Program, but there are other ratings which you may be eligible.

  37. Blue says:

    When I was in high school and college, I smoked marijuana occasionally, altogether less than 30 times. I also took mushrooms one time on a camping trip when I was 19, was given cocaine during a trip to Prague when I was 20, had a Vyvanse prescription from ages 19-23, and took an un-prescribed Xanax from a roommate when I was 20 to help me recover after a particularly long exam weekend. I am now 24.

    I also saw a counselor a year ago about struggling to deal with my father’s heart attack and finding a new job. I reported all of this to the counselor because I know counseling only works with transparency. He prescribed me buproprion which I took for less than a month, the doctor saying I had experienced a situational bout of depression that resolved on its own. My Vyvanse prescription was also cancelled as I hated the side-effects and after a few months of working without it, I realized I couldn’t possibly have ADD. I have never felt more clear-headed, I have not relapsed in any way, and I have been gainfully and very effectively employed with no drugs of any kind, other than a vitamin B-12 every morning.

    The only drug I ever used more than once was marijuana, the last time being in December 2016.

    I hope to commission as an officer in the next few years and I have already begun speaking with a recruiter. I will obviously report all of this to MEPS because they’ll receive it when they see my counseling intake anyway. I guess I’m just looking for some input. I have a very strong academic and employment history, fantastic references, and I expect to score well on the OAR. I know that I made bad decisions and I was very susceptible to peer pressure when I was younger as a result of insecurity caused by sexual abuse I experienced in high school, but I’m not that person now and I believe the majority of my life choices reflect that. If you saw someone like me, would you throw my package in the trash or could a waiver be possible for someone who has the integrity to admit where they messed up, own it, and demonstrate that nothing like it will ever happen again? I have wanted to join the Navy since I was a kid and though I got lost for a few years, I know I have so much to give and I want to fully commit myself to the service of something greater than myself.

    Thank you.

  38. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You have two problems; first, the ADHD and depression; a minimum of three years must past post treatment of a depression disorder before you would be eligible, however, the problem is the comorbidity of the ADHD. Each on their own could be waived without much problem after an extended period, but when an applicant has a history of two mental disorders, the waiver possibility drops tremendously.

    If you do receive the medical waiver you would require, then you would require a drug use waiver — if the local commanding officer approves it, your record would then go to the board that selects for the designator you applied. They will weigh your record with all things considered — they will make selections of the most competitive and qualified. So, if your record stands out compared to the others who applied, you would have a good chance of selection.

  39. Blue says:

    Thanks a lot for answering me so quickly. To follow that up, I went to my counselor today to have my records pulled and there’s something here I don’t fully understand. My notes actually state “Depression Rule Out” as the diagnosis with Buproprion prescribed. What would that mean for me?

  40. Jonathan says:

    In high school I got caught (by my parents) with weed, and they forced me to go to a rehabilitation center. I was there for 40 days, and they made me take anti depressants but I was never diagnosed with depression and I got off the ADs in less than a week by my request.

    During my stay there I got into an argument with my parents and the place made me go stay at some psychiatrist ward for 2 days before my parents pulled me out of there and put me back at the rehab. The hospital again made me take ADs but never diagnosed me. I got off of those in 3 days. My parents withdrew me after a total of 42 days and I have been completely clean and scot free since then, no more drugs, counseling, tickets or medications.

    Only other things are 2 speeding tickets and a misdemeanor for getting in a fight. Everything I mentioned happened within 3 months when I was 17.

    What is my course of action? Thank you.

  41. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Inpatient care in a psychiatric ward is medically disqualifying and not likely to receive waiver consideration.

  42. Cody [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Over a year ago I went to the navy, got my information about my arrest from court, which was a misdemeanor but first before my attorney handled it they tried charging me with distribution and possession of marijuana,what I had on me was 1.9 gram, I went did the Asvab didn’t realize how short the time limit was and I didn’t get to answer like 20 to 40 questions, somewhere around that, and meps did not accept me, would trying again getting a better score get me in, I have a hiset, which is looked at as a ged, so I believe it’s a tier 2 waiver or something, talk to me please, and oh I was applying for the navy seals idk if that made a difference but this time I may be applying for the army infantry or seals again, comments & suggestions please.

  43. Jonathan says:

    Even if it was parent’a decision to make me go through all of that? All of the nurses and psychiatrists could agree that I didn’t need any of the treatment, and it wasn’t court ordered.

    Could i possibly get a few notes from the psychiatrists saying that I’m not depressed and I’m not dependent on marijuana?

    Thank you

  44. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Physicians do not prescribe medications because the parents said so. A doctor makes a diagnosis and prescribes a treatment which may include medications. Having doctors sometime in the future provide a current diagnosis that may be different from the past does not change the original. The Department of Defense instruction concerning the diagnosis and treatment of a depressive or mood disorder is clear; if you required inpatient care, it is DQ and no service will waive it — not that I have ever seen or heard of.

    What I recommend that you do is gather up all of your medical treatment and counseling records and submit them to a recrutier for submission and review by the MEPS.

  45. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Any adversely adjudicated drug charge that has any element of trafficking involved will not receive waiver consideration. The Department of Defense will not allow it.

  46. Cody [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    But I ended up getting charged with just possession of marijuana.

    And is their any branch I can get into with my possession of marijuana charge and ged/hiset, I’m 23, and they (tried) charging me with intent to distribute but it did not happen, so I have a misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

  47. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If the arrest had anything to do with trafficking, you are not eligible — it would not matter if they had reduced the charge to jaywalking.

    To be sure, gather up the police arrest report and court records and submit them for review.

  48. Cody [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    How do I submit them, I don’t see anywhere I can take a picture and add the file.

  49. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You don’t send your police arrest record (and, policeman’s notes if you can get them — CNRC legal often asks for those) and the court records to me; you bring them to your recruiter. If they have already seen your documents and determined you are not eligible, then you need to move on to something else in life beyond the military.

  50. Jake says:

    Hello, I am currently trying to apply to be a Navy SEAL Officer. I’m in a pretty weird situation, and I don’t know how I should handle it. I have never used any illegal drugs or been prescribed any medication for any type of mental disorder. The other night I was staying at a friend’s house and couldn’t fall asleep because my mind was racing and I was starting to feel anxious. I asked him if he had melatonin (over-the-counter sleep supplement) to help me sleep. He said yes, went into the kitchen and came back into the room and gave me a pill that I believed to be melatonin and I took it. I did not feel the same effect that I had felt from melatonin when I had taken it previously (only a handful of times). Eventually I fell asleep. The next day I told him that I didn’t really feel any effect from the melatonin. He then said that because I told him I was feeling anxious, he had given me one of his anti-anxiety pills instead, and that they work better for him than melatonin when trying to fall asleep. At the time, I did not think much of it, and I did not ask him anything more about what he had given me.
    My recruiter scheduled my physical at MEPS for the upcoming week. I became nervous that the what he had given me could possibly show up on the drug screen at MEPS, so I called my recruiter and informed him that I had asked my friend for something to help me sleep and it turned out that what he had given me was possibly Xanax. I said that it was Xanax because at the time Xanax was the only drug that I knew of that was used specifically for anxiety, and did not know the consequence of saying that it was Xanax would be disqualification. I felt that giving him the name a specific drug would make it easier to know if it was going to be an issue at MEPS or not. I also felt that admitting this to him would not be something that would negatively affect me because I had not taken the drug intentionally, but was given the drug after being led to believe it was a legal sleep-aid. He then told me that it would still be in my system and he was cancelling my MEPS physical and putting it on my record that I had disclosed to him the use of Xanax. I continued to tell him that at the time I thought I was being given a legal sleep-aid and that it was completely unintentional. He stated there was nothing he could do for me and that as of right now I was disqualified. I tried to schedule a meeting to explain the full story to him but he told me that we could not talk until he returned from leave. After we spoke, I called my friend and asked him exactly what it was that he had given me. He told me that it was not a prescription drug, but was another over-the-counter supplement that he uses for anxiety, and that he got it from GNC. A day later, my recruiter e-mailed me and told me I was disqualified with no exceptions or waivers possible because I had admitted to taking Xanax and that there was no need to talk or meet at this time. That night, I went to a local medical clinic got a 10-panel drug test done to prove that what I had taken was not Xanax. The test results came back as negative for all drug classes. It had not even been 4 days from when I took the pill to when I had the drug test done so if it had been Xanax it definitely would have still been in my system. I don’t know how much weight this would hold since it wasn’t a military administered drug test but I wanted to at least try so I had some proof. I do not know what to do about this because he has already determined me to be disqualified and told me that he does not want to meet to discuss it further. I’ve wanted this since I was very young and I really don’t want something dumb like this to prevent me from getting a chance.

  51. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Your recruiter’s hands are tied. You self admitted to taking the drug, and by doing so, in the military’s eyes, you took the drug. No amount of testing or trying to explain the circumstances will change that. Due to taking the non-prescribed drug, you are also not eligible for the Special Warfare Operator enlisted rating.

    I do wish I had better news.

  52. John. says:

    I was arrested 4 years ago for possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana. The charges were dropped because the drugs were not mine. Will I need a waiver?

  53. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As long as the court and police records are clear as to why the charges were dropped without condition, you would not require a waiver.

  54. John says:

    I tested for Cocaine in a UA in the Army. I am getting separated. I’ve always wanted to be a Seal. Is possible to join the navy after a year ?

  55. NCCM(Ret) says:


    With a drug related discharge, you have no chance at joining the Navy no matter what your RE-code may end up being (normally, for positive drugs, a person will receive an Other than Honorable discharge with a RE-4 code). Additionally, SPECWAR will not entertain a drug use waiver for anything other than marijuana.

  56. Josh says:

    Hey, so i recently attended meps this past May going for a seal contract my swim is under 8 minutes along with a great run, pushups, etc. i tested positive for marijuana on my urinalysis but have never engaged with a drug before so when i recieved my 90 day disqualification letter i was beyond confused. Is there any way i can appeal to this misunderstanding. My uncle is a commanding officer and captain in redzikowo and is willing to speak to anyone on behalf. Also i was wondering if there is anyway i can somehow take a PST to earn a waiver from SPECWAR? Thank you!

  57. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you tested positive on the MEPS drug test, according to instruction, you are banned from joining the Navy. There is no waiver authorized.

  58. Marcus says:

    Was enlisted back In February 2003. Popped positive for marijuana. I was young and dumb then. My dad had recently passed and I was using this substance to cope with the pain an grief. I would love to have a second chance at serving my country. Is this possible?

  59. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you produced a positive drug sample during the MEPS testing or while serving, the Navy will not consider a waiver. For the stance of the other branches on this subject, you would need to ask them. At one time, they had all followed the Navy’s lead on this policy, but I think the Army may have backed off it. I would start there.

  60. John says:

    I just entered the DEP program and I just want this to be clarified.. Based on the rule made in 2015, navy recruiters cannot and will not administer any drug tests while I’m in the DEP program?

  61. NCCM(Ret) says:


    They will no longer administer the NIDT program. The program drug tested Future Sailors at required points prior to shipping to RTC. A Future Sailor would be held accountable to the results of those tests. If a recruiter is now testing applicants or Future Sailors, they are doing so with test kits provided outside the funding supplied due to NIDT, and they are more than likely doing so to give some assurance the applicant or Future Sailor avoids being discharged or banned from joining for life — but because those kits are not as accurate as the actual tests completed by MEPS or boot-camp, some will still fail.

    Personally, I would not purchase those kits out of pocket, if that is what they are doing. Future Sailors are sufficiently warned while in DEP of the consequence of a positive boot-camp drug test — if they produce a positive sample when they get to MEPS, they need to be discharged and banned. Although applicants suffer the same if they produce a positive result during their initial MEPS visit, I, personally, think that should be able to be considered for waiver, but that is not expected to happen. Applicants have not yet had the opportunity of the DEP program and the training and awareness it brings.

  62. Jordan says:

    Five years ago, I was arrested for DUI. I went through the process and took care of everything. The charge is now expunged (I know the Navy can still see it). My first question is with a 2.9 GPA from my Bachelor’s Degree and this previous charge, is there any chance of getting accepted in Navy OCS? Secondly, if that option is gone, I want to enlist to go SWCC. Would I have any issues getting a SWCC contract, as long as, my PST numbers are superb?

  63. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A conduct waiver for a single DUI is possible for both SWCC and officer programs. The minimum GPA required varies depending on the designator you are applying to, and, of course, the type of degree (STEM, liberal arts, etc.).

    For the Special Warfare Boat Operator rating, all waiver considerations start with your Warrior Challenge physical screening test performance. If you have borderline scores, they tend not to risk it.

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