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Policy on Illegal Drugs

The Royal Navy has a zero tolerance Policy on Illegal Drugs

Many young people experiment with illegal drugs these days. Having tried drugs is not in itself a factor that will bar someone from joining the Royal Navy. However all serving personnel, Royal Navy, Royal Marines, QARNNS, on both the trained and untrained strength are banned from taking illegal drugs. The Royal Navy has a drug education programme, all personnel must attend a lecture once every three years, and this clearly sets out the Royal Navy policy on drugs as well as explaining about their effects and answering questions from the floor.

One of the deterrents the Royal Navy has in the fight against drugs is the Compulsory Drug Testing Team (CDT). This team has the power to test anyone in the Royal Navy at any time. The team may show up at a shore establishment in Cornwall, on a submarine in Scotland or on a ship in Amsterdam. When the team arrives the gangway is closed and no one is allowed to leave until the CDT has tested the individuals that have been randomly selected by a computer. Individuals provide a urine sample, which is sent to a laboratory to be tested for a wide variety of illegal drugs.

In 2008, 10,876 tests were conducted worldwide, of which 58 were positive, which statistically equates to just 0.53% of personnel tested. The normal procedure for a person who is found to have taken drugs is a discharge Service No Longer Required (SNLR). This is a dishonourable discharge. The Royal Navy will not tolerate individuals who put their colleagues, their mission and themselves at risk by taking substances that affect their performance. The message to Royal Navy personnel is simple: DO NOT TAKE DRUGS.

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