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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 20363
Experience:  Licensed attorney and former Navy JAG serving ashore, afloat and at the OJAG
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If an air force member gets a positive drug test from a

Customer Question

If an air force member gets a positive drug test from a command directed urinalysis is that grounds for recommendation of administrative discharge which further has led to other than honorable? I thought the service member would be offered treatment and
I'd complied is able to retain their career.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. Administrative separation processing is mandatory for illegal drug use in all services, including the AF. You can see the Admin Sep instruction by going to the following link:

Zero tolerance has been the policy for quite a few decades now.

There is a program for drug abuse that Commanders can, in very few cases, send their servicemembers to, but they would have to have special permission and the abuse would have to involve a legal drug that had been prescribed to the servicemember but which the servicemember had become addicted. That though is not the same as a positive result on a UA. That, as mentioned, requires mandatory processing.

Please let me know if you need any clarification.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What about disclosing the drug abuse to the commander and asking for voluntary treatment?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.

If that occurs versus the scenario you shared where an Airman tests positive for illegal drugs, then if the CO wants to try to get approval for treatment they can. That information is summarized, along with the mandatory processing information at the link I provided to you.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Retention Criteria and Consideration. A member found to have abused drugs will be discharged unless the member meets all seven of the following criteria: Drug abuse is a departure from the member's usual and customary behavior. Drug abuse occurred as the result of drug experimentation (a drug experimenter is defined as one who has illegally or improperly used a drug for reasons of curiosity, peer pressure, or other similar reasons). Drug abuse does not involve recurring incidents, other than drug experimentation as defined above. The member does not desire to engage in or intend to engage in drug abuse in the future5. Drug abuse under all the circumstances is not likely to recur. Under the particular circumstances of the case, the member's continued presence in the Air Force is consistent with the interest of the Air Force in maintaining proper discipline, good order, leadership, and morale (Noncommissioned officers have special responsibilities by virtue of their status; fulfill an integral role in maintaining discipline; and, therefore, must exhibit high standards of personal integrity, loyalty, dedication, devotion to duty and leadership). Drug abuse did not involve drug distribution. For the purpose of this paragraph, drug distribution means the delivery to the possession of another. Distribution does not occur with the transfer of the drugs from one person to another while such persons are engaged in the mutual use of drugs, except that individuals who obtain, or arrange for obtaining, the drugs used by others are involved in distribution. "Delivery" means the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer of the drugs, whether or not there exists an agency relationship.These all seem to fit the airmen,but the cc doesn't seem to want to listen or help in any way.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
3.3.6. Command-Directed. During a command-directed examination of a Service member to determine the Service member's competence for duty or the need for counseling, rehabilitation, or other medical treatment when the commander has reason to question the Service member's competence for duty (i.e., aberrant, bizarre, or uncharacteristic behavior; unauthorized absences; violations of safety regulations; breaches of discipline; or other similar behavior).
So if the airmen tested positive from acommand directed urinalysis why wasn't rehabilitation or counseling or anything offered?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also what happens to an airmen who attempts suicide as a result of this?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.

I answered your question in the only way I can, which is to discuss the law. I cannot get into a specific case as I wouldn't have all of the facts and discretion is a major factor here. If you are asking if the servicemember somehow must be retained if they attempt suicide even though they have committed misconduct, the answer is no.