U.S. Air Force
Expands Drug Testing To Include Abused Prescription Drugs
By Jon Stock
March 7, 2012 - The Air Force and other military services will expand their drug testing to include testing for commonly abused prescription drugs beginning May 1, 2012.
The Secretary of Defense gave a 90-day advance notice of
the drug testing expansion which aims to counter the
nation's growing epidemic and encourage those abusing
prescription medications to seek treatment before
official testing begins.
"Abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest growing drug
problem in the United States, and unfortunately, this
trend is reflected in the military services," said Maj.
Gen. Thomas W. Travis, Deputy Air Force Surgeon General.
"While pain medications are highly effective in
alleviating suffering from injuries, they are dangerous
and potentially addictive when used outside medical
controlled medications in a manner other than how they were
prescribed poses a risk to the person's health and safety and
can put others at risk as well. Prescription medications should
be taken only for the purposes for which they were prescribed
and at the dose and frequency prescribed. Additionally, Airmen
are reminded never to take a medication prescribed to someone
who need help discontinuing use of these drugs are encouraged to
seek care at a military treatment facility immediately," said
Maj. Gen. Travis.
AFI 44-121, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) Program provides limited protections under certain circumstances for voluntary disclosure of prior drug use or possession to unit commanders, first sergeants, a substance abuse evaluator, or a military medical professional. Once an Airman has been ordered to provide a urine sample as part of the drug testing program, any disclosure is not considered to be voluntary.
no changes to procedures that will directly affect drug testing
collection sites and military members who are selected for
testing," said Lt. Col. Mark Oordt, Chief, Alcohol and Drug
Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Drug Demand Reduction. "The
changes will occur at the Drug Testing Labs where the standard
panel of substances each specimen is tested for will be
The scope of the
- The Centers for Disease Control report 52 million Americans age 12+ y/o had used prescription meds non-medically in 2009, with 7 million Americans having done so routinely.
- Prescription medications appear to be replacing marijuana as the top "gateway drug." Six of the top 10 abused substances among high school seniors are prescription drugs; 20% of high school students have taken prescription medications without a prescription.
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