The military is a microcosm of society; however, drug use does not run rampant through the ranks as it does outside of the military, mainly because of the programs in place to deter substance abuse.
The Drug Demand Reduction Program uses a computer system to pick random individuals from around the installation for a urinalysis screening. The screening provides a process to detect and deter the wrongful use of drugs.
“It is entirely up to the computer,” said Master Sgt. Kimberly Nilles, Drug Demand Reduction Center assistant program manager. “You might not be selected for two years, but your buddy might get selected every month for a year.”
The random aspect is very important to the deterrence and is the spirit of the program, Nilles said.
“By random selection testing, we can see what segments have issues if there are any,” said Capt. Justin Blood, 86th Airlift Wing judge advocate general law division chief. “You need to weigh the value of a couple of minutes to a couple of hours of getting high with the impact it is going to have on your career and possibly your life.”
Testing positive for drug use can result in a dishonorable discharge, an Article 15, reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay, general courts martial and confinement. Blood said drug users need to be prepared to lose their job.
“Everyone is aware they can be tested at any time, and it is not a smart choice,” Nilles said.
Contrary to popular belief, testing of multiple samples at once is an urban myth and each sample is tested individually, Nilles said.
Being in the military is a privilege, not a right. Programs like the Drug Demand Reduction Program ensure the Air Force retains the right personnel and identifies individuals who abuse their privilege.