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  • Drug test and consequences test

    I have a 19-year-old son who is an E2 in the Army National Guard. He enlisted in high school and returned from basic/AIT in November, so he had to wait until January to start college. He has always been a good kid but he made a stupid mistake over the weekend. He called me to come get him from school, which he never does -- he hates to come home, and I figured something was up. On the way home, he fessed up that he went to a campus party with friends and he got very drunk, and to top it off, he smoked marijuana while he was at the party. He said another guy who is in the same Guard unit with him yelled at him and told him that he was stupid (which he was) because the unit has drill this upcoming weekend, and a 100% drug test was going to happen. My kid is normally a very smart, good kid, but one bad decision led to another -- underage drinking is one thing, but smoking weed is another! He is scared that he will test positive, and thrown out of the National Guard. He is afraid to ask anyone what he should do -- other than the obvious, if he is tested, comply and if it is positive, face the music. He has been offered a STEM Scholarship through ROTC at the college where he attends, so he obviously has a brain cell or two -- but he must have left his common sense in his dorm room when he decided to go to a party with friends! While his father and I are furious with him about his poor decision-making, we are fearful of what will happen. I spoke to a National Guard/ROTC guy at another college, and was told that because he was an E-2, he would hopefully not get thrown out of the Guard but will most likely have to undergo counseling, drug testing and maybe even lose what little rank he has, etc. I was also told that this is up to his Commander, and if the unit has a 0-tolerance policy (which I agree it should) he could very well be discharged with a hot test result. I was also told that even worse, even if the Guard lets him stay, he will NEVER get accepted to ROTC. He is devastated that one bad decision could ruin his military career. Are there any suggestions??? I am glad that he fessed up and told me, and I hope that this is a learning experience for him. I know he has to face the music, but I would hope that his Commander was "young and stupid" at one time as well. The ROTC person I spoke to also suggested in a roundabout way that if my son should become ill this weekend, gets a doctors excuse and can't go to drill, he could make up his drill weekend later, or just be excused and not get paid. I am at a loss, other than when it comes down to it, he really screwed up. And he knows it.

  • #2
    If he tests hot, he's pretty much done. My unit policy has always been zero tolerance and my state just recently went to zero tolerance as well. If the state policy is zero tolerance, it won't matter what the Commander thinks of the situation or your soldier, it will be a simple matter of paperwork and he'll be gone. His discharge code will more than likely preclude him from reenlisting or joining ROTC in the future as well. Service is a privilege, not a right and as the war draws down and the force size is reduced there is less and less room for people to "make mistakes."

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    • #3
      He could advice his chain of command of his mistake before he heads to drill and go into a rehabilitation program. I'm not sure how different each state is on the drug policy as I would assume its passed down by the National Guard Bureau. My state has a zero tolerance policy as well but if the soldier comes to the chain of command by his own admittance and NOT upon hearing about the impending drug test then the soldier could be spared getting kicked out. With that said they will drug test him upon admittance and he will come up positive and they will put restrictions in place. I'm not too familiar with the program and how the details work out. I will say that in all likelihood your son's future with ROTC has been tossed out of the window.

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      • #4
        He has two options:

        First option, depending on how much he smoked, when he smoked, physical build ect, there's a good chance he would test negative if tested at all.

        Second option, is what Explosive Hazzard posted and that he has to admit his use immediately to his commander. This would slow his career but not stop it. He would most likely have to obtain a chemical dependcy evaluation at his own expense and follow all treatment recommendations.

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        • #5
          I was wondering if he would be spared discharge if he was up front with his commander and asked for drug counseling/rehabilitation. His concern is that if he does this, he will still be passed over for the ROTC scholarship. I told him I'd rather see him passed over for ROTC than be stripped of his entire military career. Thank you for your input.

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          • #6
            First of all, a piss test is not know before drill nor is it known if it will be 100 percent or less of the unit's population. That will be a surprise announcement at drill. If he is worried about it happening, he could inform his chain of command and then he will get enrolled in the ASAP program. A gamble, which I am not suggesting whatsoever, is to remain quiet and perhaps there will not be a test and he will be able to get it out of his system before next drill. But if an announcement is then made and he then mentions its right then and there; then there will be repercussions. Plus, the guy who saw him may inform the unit of his actions. Better safe than sorry, right?

            Here is the regulation for ASAP http://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/pdf/r600_85.pdf
            Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; April 7th, 2014, 07:14 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GuardMom10769 View Post
              I have a 19-year-old son who is an E2 in the Army National Guard. He enlisted in high school and returned from basic/AIT in November, so he had to wait until January to start college. He has always been a good kid but he made a stupid mistake over the weekend. He called me to come get him from school, which he never does -- he hates to come home, and I figured something was up. On the way home, he fessed up that he went to a campus party with friends and he got very drunk, and to top it off, he smoked marijuana while he was at the party. He said another guy who is in the same Guard unit with him yelled at him and told him that he was stupid (which he was) because the unit has drill this upcoming weekend, and a 100% drug test was going to happen. My kid is normally a very smart, good kid, but one bad decision led to another -- underage drinking is one thing, but smoking weed is another! He is scared that he will test positive, and thrown out of the National Guard. He is afraid to ask anyone what he should do -- other than the obvious, if he is tested, comply and if it is positive, face the music. He has been offered a STEM Scholarship through ROTC at the college where he attends, so he obviously has a brain cell or two -- but he must have left his common sense in his dorm room when he decided to go to a party with friends! While his father and I are furious with him about his poor decision-making, we are fearful of what will happen. I spoke to a National Guard/ROTC guy at another college, and was told that because he was an E-2, he would hopefully not get thrown out of the Guard but will most likely have to undergo counseling, drug testing and maybe even lose what little rank he has, etc. I was also told that this is up to his Commander, and if the unit has a 0-tolerance policy (which I agree it should) he could very well be discharged with a hot test result. I was also told that even worse, even if the Guard lets him stay, he will NEVER get accepted to ROTC. He is devastated that one bad decision could ruin his military career. Are there any suggestions??? I am glad that he fessed up and told me, and I hope that this is a learning experience for him. I know he has to face the music, but I would hope that his Commander was "young and stupid" at one time as well. The ROTC person I spoke to also suggested in a roundabout way that if my son should become ill this weekend, gets a doctors excuse and can't go to drill, he could make up his drill weekend later, or just be excused and not get paid. I am at a loss, other than when it comes down to it, he really screwed up. And he knows it.
              A lot of what will happen is state dependent (as far as his enlisted status in his state - I can't speak for what will happen with regard to ROTC). Based on what I've seen, most of the junior enlisted soldiers weren't discharged as a result of testing positive on just one test. I've seen a lot get discharged on a repeat violation.

              Not that I'm advocating this... or there is any honor in this whatsoever... not showing up (unexcused absence) is probably better than showing up and testing positive.

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              • #8
                Thank you. I have been forwarding this information to him and I hope he makes the best decision.

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                • #9
                  No, No..no and absolutely NOT. While this will not be the most politically correct answer, unless this person is going to make a habit of smoking dope, they need to not go to the next drill under any circumstances.

                  First, he needs to ask the unit permission to SUTA. Come up with the best unverifiable excuse know to man and make up the drill weekend at a later date in the month. Each unit has their own procedures for this, but he needs to ask permission ASAP.

                  Secondly, if they won't allow a SUTA (a make up drill) which is rare they say no for good reason, he needs to not go. Yes...do not go.

                  While they technically can test you on a SUTA drill I have never ever seen a unit do it. Asking to make up the drill later will keep him in good graces and put enough time in between the dope smoking and the less than 1% chance he's tested during a SUTA. If he isn't authorized a SUTA, getting an unexcused absence for one drill will hardly even come close to the amount of headache and heartache he will receive for failing a dope test.

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