Armed Forces relax policy on drug abuse

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by AuldYin, Feb 26, 2006.

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  1. Yes, if it is a one off offence

  2. No, they should all be discharged

    0 vote(s)
  3. Maybe. Depends on the circumstances

  1. The Armed Forces has secretly lifted its blanket ban on the use of Class A drugs, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
    Soldiers, sailors and airmen caught using cocaine, ecstasy and heroin no longer face automatic dismissal from the Services following the controversial change in policy. The new rules come as the Army faces recruitment problems, blamed largely on the unpopularity of the war in Iraq.
    Until last year, any member of the Armed Forces found in possession of or using Class A drugs would have been automatically discharged. Now soldiers below the rank of lance corporal, or its equivalent in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, will not face instant dismissal if they confess to taking Class A drugs or test positive under the military's compulsory drug testing programme. Those above the rank of lance corporal still face instant dismissal.The rule change, not announced by the MoD when it was introduced last year, emerged after this newspaper learnt that a recruit who filmed himself snorting a line of cocaine was allowed to remain in the Army.
    Pte Richard Levell, an 18-year-old recruit at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, confessed to taking the drug in his barrack room after an instructor found the video evidence on his mobile telephone.
    Pte Levell, now with the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was put on an "early intervention programme" designed to warn personnel of the pitfalls of drug abuse. He can be discharged only if he fails to complete the three-day course to the satisfaction of his commanding officer.
    Compulsory drug testing was introduced in 1998 when the Army had a zero tolerance policy on illegal drugs. That position altered several years ago when defence chiefs ruled that recruits who had taken "soft" drugs early in their life should not automatically be ruled out of a military career.
    About 600 servicemen and women test positive for drugs every year. Earlier this month 18 soldiers from the Staffordshire Regiment, which had recently returned from Iraq, tested positive for cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.
    Most of them are expected to be dismissed from the Army. To date 53 soldiers who had previously served in Iraq have tested positive for illegal drugs.
    Confirming the change in policy, an MoD spokesman said: "Only those servicemen with the potential to succeed in the forces will be allowed to continue."
    Patrick Mercer, a former infantry commanding officer and the Tory shadow homeland security minister, said the ruling defied belief.
    "While I understand the difficulties the forces are having recruiting, this defeats the whole intention of having a drug-clean Army that can be relied upon under intense pressure."
  2. Load of old bollocks. No changes at all, this policy was in effect 5 years ago. Those at LH/CPL level and above, if caught, get thrown out. Those at the AB/Pvt level get a second chance and an insert in their docs, along with the chance of being random tested again. This is old news, and the Sunday Telegraph is revealing nothing. Another journo taking a week's wages under false pretences. Give 'em all CS95 and stick 'em on the front line.

    Nice to see the rent-a-quote ******* have turned out as
  3. Incredible !!

    I would not want to serve with some one who has taken drugs, the armed forces should be telling this country, we have zero tolerance. Some sections of society may think it is accepptable to use drugs but not in the armed forces and if you don't like that, don't apply to join and do not use when them whilst serving !
    They should not be embarking on a further 'watering down' of standards because they are scared of the effect it will have on retention and the number of recruits applying.
  4. exactly. not having a zero tolerance policy almost gives people a free reign to take what they like and get away with it. and lets face it, do you really want your oppo high as a kite when you've both gotta rely on each other.
    there are plenty of people about that used drugs prior to entering the armed forces, and this seems to make it ok to just keep up your habit. take drugs, get caught, do a 3 day "drugs are bad" course, then crack on with life as normal.

    there may well be problems with recruiting, but i sure as hell don't feel this is going in the right direction to sort it out.
  5. I'd rather not have him pissed either, but alcohol is legal. How many people do you know who have been incapable due to drink, but simply get shunted off to their rack to sleep it off? How many have done the Alcohol course, then gone on a run ashore at the nearest pub on completion - and returned to unit and carried on the same?

    Drugs are bad, no doubt about it, but all the time they are cheaper than booze, and we continue to encourage a drinking culture in the Forces, then they are going to be a problem.

    If you really want to stop it, then you need to ban booze at sea, and introduce breath and blood testing with a zero tolerance across the board. Which we know won't happen.
  6. PompeySailor,
    although not zero tolerance, there has been a recent introduction of alcohol testing at sea, PIDAT. See DIN's (2006DIN02-030). Already discussed on ARRSE...
  7. I used to help run the ATC course at Haslar.Despite being given Antabuse i used to meet ttendees on a regular basis in various pubs in and around Gosport.They would be there knocking it back,but not too much on a Sunday cos they knew come Monday we would test them.The course was really a PR excersise to show the RN being a caring Employer. :?
  8. With regard to alcohol common sense should dictate. On my last boat we reached an agreement with the XO that NO ONE would drink at sea and the bar would be shut and in return we would have an open to all comers alongside Foreign. Worked very well and after a 3 month abstinence Harbour stations Moose Milk went down a treat.
  9. The problem with drugs is that we still don't know what happens to people - and their bodies after taking the stuff. At least with alcohol we've got a good idea of what happens.

    The vote so far is 100% for throwing people out if they take drugs. Sounds good to me. Not only is it against the rules but it runs the risk of killing others in the blink of an eye. Getting pi**ed is the same and maybe we should look at being dry at sea.

    I think that the Aussies are dry at sea and I know they drink like fish alongside.... :!:

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