MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- To align with new DoD policy announced in February, Navy will begin testing for more commonly abused prescription drugs during random urinalysis starting May 1. This follows a record low in Sailors testing positive for illicit drug use.
Since 2001, the rate of urinalysis testing in the Navy has increased and remained at a steady rate for the past 10 years. As the testing has increased, the amount of members testing positive has decreased each year. Testing has been done for marijuana (THC), cocaine, and heroin among other drugs. For fiscal year 2011, there were a record low number of members who tested positive for illicit drug use with a total of 1,515 samples out of the 1,184,160 samples tested last year.
"We are really pleased with these results but while the drugs we've been testing have been on a decline, prescription drugs are on the rise. In the past three years amphetamine positives have increased 34 percent and oxycodone positives by 23 percent," said Dorice Favorite, director, Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office (NADAP).
The DoD announced Feb. 1 that more commonly abused prescription drugs will be added to the standard testing panel for all urinalysis samples submitted for testing. These prescription drug families include benzodiazepines, hydrocodones and hydromorphones (i.e. Xanax, Vicodin and Dilaudid).
"In addition to oxycodone and amphetamine, the Navy already tests for codeine and morphine," said Favorite.
Testing at the service-level will begin in May. The 90-day warning order from announcement to implementation is to allow ample time to ensure military members have their prescriptions properly documented in their health records. Additionally, the warning order provides members who are using prescription drugs that have not been prescribed or given by their health care provider to self-refer for treatment.
"We are concerned about service members who are using prescription drugs without proper authority and potentially addicted," said Favorite. "If you have a problem, this is the time to ask for help."
According to Favorite, Navy's policy on substance abuse is zero tolerance.
"Substance 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," said Favorite.
If a member is using, possessing, promoting, manufacturing, or distributing drugs they face disciplinary action that could result in unfavorable separation from the Navy.
"We recommend members seeking substance use counseling talk with their doctor, chain-of-command or self-refer to a substance abuse rehabilitation program," said Favorite.
This program is part of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative that consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.
For more news from Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, visit www.npc.navy.mil/support/nadap.
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.