The rate of illegal drug use among SEALs has climbed so high, the SEALs stopped all training in December 2016 to order a safety stand-down to address the issue.
One SEAL commander saw five SEALs kicked off teams over a three-month period due to illegal drug use.
Elite Units Not Subject to Routine Drug Testing
Although SEALs are supposed to be randomly drug tested just like service members in regular units, they are often exempted from testing due to the nature of their jobs. When a mission takes them far away from their home base, it’s often impractical for military officials to administer a drug test.
When the Navy issued its safety stand-down in December 2016, it required all SEALs to submit to a urinalysis. Some SEALs told CBS News that they hadn’t been tested in years. One whistleblower claimed that fellow SEALs had tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy.
Navy Says SEAL Drug Problem Isn’t Rampant
For its part, the Navy disputes the CBS report, claiming that while the drug use rate among SEALs is higher than the average rate within the entire Navy, the drug use problem among the SEALs is not widespread.
A spokesperson for the Naval Special Warfare Command said that the Navy conducted surprise drug tests on all 6,364 Naval Special Warfare units after Thanksgiving and received just seven positive drug tests.
The Navy also claims that it analyzed 71,436 uranalysis samples conducted between August 2014 and February 2017 and receive 186 positive samples — a 0.2 percent occurrence rate. The Navy says the majority of the positive samples contained marijuana and cocaine.
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