Drug and Alcohol Testing Program of the Department of Defense

The Department of Defense (DoD) has a zero-tolerance policy on drug use. The DoD believes that substance abuse greatly affects a service member’s career, health, and the ability to perform assigned duties. Their drug testing program is set to ensure that all those who took oath in serving the country perform their duties at their best. The testing program is a way to prevent abuse of illegal drugs and a way to guarantee security, good order, discipline, and military fitness at all times.

Here is some information on the DoD substance abuse testing program:

Who are subject for testing under the DoD substance abuse testing program?

The program covers all Military Service Members in:

  • The Army
  • The Air Force
  • Marine Corps
  • The Navy

Those who are on active duty must be tested at least once a year while the Members of the Guard and Reserves must be tested at least once in two years.

When are Military service members tested for illegal substances?

Military service members undergo drug testing during the following circumstances:

  • New Entrant
  • Inspection
  • Medical (emergency and periodic physical examinations)
  • Probable Cause (probable search cause finds evidence of illegal drug use)
  • Command-Directed (Commander has reasonable cause)
  • Safety Mishap
  • Consent
  • Rehabilitation

What substances are tested for?

The DoD substance abuse program tests for the following substances:

  • Marijuana
  • LSD
  • Opiates
  • Barbiturates
  • Cocaine
  • PCP
  • Amphetamines

Anabolic steroids are considered a controlled substance. Commanders can have Military service members tested if they suspect the use of steroids.

What is the testing procedure followed by the DoD?

The DoD assigns a test administrator to facilitate the collection of urine samples from service members. Test administrators are trained and knowledgeable in performing the protocol to ensure that all documents and samples get to testing laboratories without signs of tampering. To guarantee that all samples return with accurate results, a chain-of-custody is signed by all those who come in contact with the samples.

Each sample is tested for the presence of prohibited drugs. When a test shows positive, the sample will undergo another test that will determine the specific drugs found in the sample.

What happens to those who are tested positive for substance use?

According to the DoD substance abuse testing program, those who are tested positive for illegal substances are subject for disciplinary and administrative actions. Depending on the case, a military service member may suffer suspension, separation from the Military, or subject to treatment and rehabilitation. Those who are found positive while on the field will be transferred and suspended because of the threat to the safety of other service members and to national security.

More information on the DoD substance abuse testing program here:




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