The Department of Defense (DoD) announced on Thursday, March 9 that they will be expanding the number of drugs applicants for military service are tested for, effective April 3. Once this change takes effect, potential recruits will be tested using the same 26-drug panel active members of the military are rested for.
Currently, military applicants are only tested for:
- Designer amphetamines like MDA, commonly known as “Adam” and MDMA, commonly known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly”
- Amphetamines, including methamphetamine
After April 3, the tests will start to look for drugs including:
- Benzodiazepine sedatives
- A number of synthetic cannabinoids
In the press release announcing the change in policy, the DoD stated that:
“The change… is due to the level of illicit and prescription medication abuse among civilians, as well as the increase in heroin and synthetic drug use within the civilian population.”
Army Col. Tom Martin explained that the expanded testing is intended to ensure that only the most qualified potential service members are admitted and holding these potential recruits to the same standards as current members of the military, who are subjected to random drug tests three times throughout the year, will play a role in that.
“Military applicants currently are tested on a small subset of drugs that military members are tested on,” Martin said. “Applicants need to be aware of the standard we hold our service members to when they join the service.”
Martin stated that out of the 279,400 applicants the military processes every year, about 2,400 come back with a positive drug test, and he expects another 450 or so will come back with positive tests once the new policy is in place based on data.
In addition to the expanded drug panel, many applicants will be allowed to reapply after 90 days if they initially test positive, as long as the service they are applying for allows it. A second positive test will result in permanent disqualification from military service. However, services are allowed to impose stricter measures as they see fit, which could permanently disqualify an applicant after just one failure.
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