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Navy SEALs ordered to immediately resume ‘normal’ drug testing after scaling back during pandemic

Navy SEALs are ordered to immediately resume ‘normal’ urine drug testing after scaling back during the pandemic to limit exposure to COVID-19

  • The SEALs, whose ranks have reportedly been plagued by the use of illegal drugs such as cocaine, were ordered to provide urine samples from May 19 onwards
  • SEALs who are on official leave or temporary assignments were ordered to provide the urine sample on the day they return 
  • Random drug testing in the Armed Forces is standard procedure but current and former SEALs said it is not routine 
  • The Navy also said in a press release on Monday that the entire branch has resumed its ‘normal’ pre-pandemic drug testing  

Navy SEALs have been ordered to immediately provide urine samples for drug testing after the elite teams scaled back testing during the pandemic to limit exposure to COVID-19, it has been reported.

The SEALs, whose ranks have reportedly been plagued by the use of illegal drugs such as cocaine, were ordered by Commander Rear Admiral Hugh Howard to provide the samples on May 19, CBS This Morning reported.

SEALs who are on official leave or temporary assignments were ordered to provide the urine sample on the day they return.

Random drug testing in the Armed Forces is standard procedure but current and former SEALs told the outlet that the immediate force-wide testing is not routine and has not been seen at this scale since 2016.

SEALs who are on official leave or temporary assignments were ordered to provide the urine sample on the day they return

A Navy spokesperson told the outlet that Navy commanders were temporarily given the authority to pause random drug testing to ensure safety amid the pandemic.

‘Maintaining a drug-free workplace is critical to warfighting readiness in keeping with Navy policy. We will not tolerate those who use illicit drugs and misuse prescription drugs,’ the spokesperson told CBS News.

‘Due to the health concerns of COVID-19, the Navy provided commanders the authority to temporarily pause required random testing to ensure the safety of personnel. This did not stop testing, but gave commanders more flexibility to test and mitigate potential transmission of COVID-19.

‘The commander [of the SEALs] directed a force-wide urinalysis as a prudent measure to establish a baseline given COVID impacts on program compliance.’

The Navy also said in a press release on Monday that the entire branch has resumed its ‘normal’ pre-pandemic drug testing.

Vice Admiral John B. Nowell Jr., the Chief of Naval Personnel, said ‘commands will return to normal testing procedures and requirements.’

‘Commands shall not recall individuals who are restricted in movement or quarantined, except in cases of probable cause, or as determined by the commanding officer in consultation with a local Judge Advocate General officer,’ Nowell wrote.

A Navy spokesperson told CBS News that Navy commanders were temporarily given the authority to pause random drug testing to ensure safety amid the pandemic

A Navy spokesperson told CBS News that Navy commanders were temporarily given the authority to pause random drug testing to ensure safety amid the pandemic

CBS News spoke with current and former SEALs last month who detailed deployments where SEALs were taking illegal drugs after six members of SEAL Team 10 tested positive for cocaine

CBS News spoke with current and former SEALs last month who detailed deployments where SEALs were taking illegal drugs after six members of SEAL Team 10 tested positive for cocaine

The Navy noted that sailors and Marines who can telework does not excuse them from participating in the urinalysis.

The Navy also eased a number of its coronavirus mandates for its ranks, noting that none of the more than 230,000 fully immunized sailors and Marines have been hospitalized to date for COVID-19. 

Fully vaccinated sailors can once again take advantage gyms, laundry facilities, commissary access and other base amenities while in ports overseas.  

CBS News spoke with current and former SEALs last month who detailed deployments where SEALs were taking illegal drugs after the outlet obtained a heavily redacted investigative report revealing six members of SEAL Team 10 had tested positive for cocaine.

‘I would say the majority of guys are not doing it. We’ve got to work hard to find the guys who are and how they’re getting it around,’ one of the SEALs told CBS News. 

The SEALs, whose ranks have reportedly been plagued by the use of illegal drugs such as cocaine, were ordered to provide the samples 'today' on May 19

The SEALs, whose ranks have reportedly been plagued by the use of illegal drugs such as cocaine, were ordered to provide the samples ‘today’ on May 19

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