13 May Navy Now Testing for Prescription Drug Abuse
The United States Navy will be adding some new prescription drug testing to the routine urinalysis beginning this month. According to a recent publication, the widely prescribed Vicodin and Xanax will now be added to the new list of drugs for urinalysis. These are both extremely addictive drugs and belong in the benzodiazephine and the hydrocodone prescription drug families.
Defense Department officials recently released a statement saying there has been steady increases in the numbers of soldiers who have been referred for treatment regarding opiate abuse in the past decade. The Army and the Department of Defense are both expanding their programs to include the two prescription drugs: hydroquinone and hydromorphone but they have yet to determine when they will begin testing for the benzodiazepines, says Troy Rolan, an Army spokesman.
The Navy has a drug policy that is zero-tolerance and although the overall levels of abuse among military personnel are significantly lower than the regular civilian population, Navy officials are concerned. They hope that by adding the two drug families to their standard panel of drug testing, this will allow a more inclusive understanding of the prescription drug abuse problem among the naval population.
February is when the Department of Defense first made the announcement, saying they were giving its service members an amnesty period of 90-days to search out treatment options before random testing started. Sailors were informed that their prescriptions should be properly documented in health records before May 1st.
The Navy has medical treatment programs and facilities ready to assist sailors and members of their families who need their help for abuse or misuse of these drugs. If they have a positive urinalysis they may be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and then processed for administrative leave from the U.S. Navy.
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