Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by rjb, May 4, 2018.
If this turns out to be true, very sad, indeed. On the flip side of the coin, what type of drug testing was being done? There are known problems with some of the test kits for false positives, especially if you are using any vitamin supplements, etc which may have similar substances that could test positive in a 'pee-cup' test. There are also some types of tea that will show positive, as well.
However, if it is true, and there is this spike in substance abuse among elite service members- then you'd think the Navy should take pause and look at what issues are contributing to it. While I don't condone any drug usage, I do understand the nature of 'self medicating' by some to compensate for untreated (and 'in denial') mental health issues.
One big OOF...
I'll answer from my own experience in the air force; I'm not a physician and I'm not a lawyer. But I did sit on over a dozen court martials; many for drug offenses.
The military "random drug test" is done by lottery. If you're called, you go to the clinic or wherever they are doing the draw, and you check in, they verify who you are, there's some paperwork, then you're handed a cup and sent to the restroom. There will be a military member there to observe you...yes, watch the entire process. They do this to ensure its you, not a stored sample, etc. That person will sign a tag stipulating they observed you. Then you take the cup back and deliver it. It is then checked and sealed with the flimsiest tape I've ever seen; usually in an "X" pattern. Then a label with your ID information is put on it. You verify that the tape seals are intact, sign the form, and that's it.
All the samples will be collected and packaged very securely by witnesses; they use the "two person" concept: two people must always be in possession of the samples and they sign a document every step of the way. It'll be shipped to the air force lab doing the testing. The lab will receive the package; two people, they'll take the package into a room and open it. They must both verify that there are exactly the same number of bottles in the box as the paperwork says were shipped. IF there's a discrepancy, the entire package is destroyed. They then, one at a time, examine each container, checking the seals, documentation, etc. If the seals are broken, or the paperwork has a discrepancy, ALL the samples in the box, not just this one, are destroyed. IF all the samples are good, then they go to the testing area.
The first test is basically the dip stick test. Dip the sample; if the stick comes up with a "potential positive" then it's set aside for further testing. If it comes up negative, that's it; it's destroyed and you're clear. If it came up possible, then it goes to the test that during a court martial, the PhD explaining it will put you to sleep: GCMS or the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Here's we're going to do the electron microscope type thing. The sample will be tested using this beast and this is where, if you're guilty, they're going to prove it. This thing will look at the atomic level of metabolites in your body. I don't remember all the numbers so forgive me but if memory serves, the AF had a level to show violation of something like 150ng/ml for cocaine and about 50ng/ml for THC (marijuana). The first test could say "POSITIVE! YOU'VE GOT THIS PERSON!!!" BUT...if the GCMS came back with 49.99999ng/ml of THC, that sample was destroyed and there was no finding since it didn't meet the 50ng/ml level. Yes, really; they would know the person had done the drugs but...they didn't reach the "hang'em" level.
Many folks liked to try to fight the GCMS results claiming "I eat a lot of poppy seed bagels, etc...etc..." but, alas, the metabolite of THC only forms in the tissues if you've ingested the illegal item. In my career I never saw or heard of a "false positive" with the GCMS, but I did with the preliminary testing. Again though, I'm not the expert so I could have missed it.
Bottom line: if these guys were tested like I remember, the odds are VERY high that they're guilty.
Thank you for the detailed information. As I said earlier, if true for such a large number from an elite branch, maybe this is where someone should be looking into the 'whys' of it for that group. It's sad on all ends for those service members who had to go above and beyond to achieve that status and throw it away.
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