All branches of the United States military will soon hold applicants to same drug testing standards as active service members, according to a memo issued by the Department of Defense.
Starting next month, any person interested in being all they can be inside the trenches of the U.S military will be forced to undergo a rigorous 26-panel drug screen for substances ranging from prescription painkillers to synthetic cannabinoids. The DOD feels that with “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,” it is now necessary to test recruits across the board.
Presently, military applicants are put through a modest drug test, which looks for traces of marijuana, cocaine and variations of amphetamine. However, on April 3, the test will be expanded in an effort to pinpoint those recruits with a lust for hard dope, including “heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and a number of synthetic cannabinoids and benzodiazepine sedatives,” explained Army Colonel Tom Martin, who serves as Director of the DOD’s Drug Reduction Program.
“Military applicants currently are tested on a small subset of drugs that military members are tested on,” he said. “Applicants need to be aware of the standard we hold our service members to when they join the service.”
The U.S. military receives roughly 279,000 applications every year from men and women wanting to serve their country. Of those recruits, around 2,400 are rejected because of a failed drug screen. The DOD predicts the latest testing expansion will disqualify an additional 450 people a year.
But failing a drug test does not disqualify an applicant indefinitely. The updated policy will allow recruits to reapply for military service after 90 days. But if they fail a second time—they are done. The new policy calls for permanent exclusion after two failed drug tests.
There are currently a variety of standards for reapplication—it all depends on which military branch an applicant is interested. However, the updated policy will provide those recruits who piss dirty with a second opportunity to become a solider, regardless of the drug that failed them.