A Navy spokesperson has confirmed to news reporters that several service members in the Navy have tested positive for hard drugs including methamphetamines and cocaine. Ten of these individuals are U.S. Navy SEAL team members, and one implicated individual is a sailor in the Navy’s special warfare unit.
These eleven service members tested positive during routine drug testing conducted in March and April of 2018, and the Navy has confirmed that the members will be discharged from service.
Commander Tamara Lawrence released a statement confirming rumors. The Commander reinforced the Navy’s zero-tolerance policy, and she reassured the public that illegal drugs are not compatible with the special warfare unit’s policies and goals.
Illicit drugs have become a growing problem within special Naval units. In 2016, various news outlets reported on drug problems within the East Coast Naval center. The U.S. Navy SEAL unit was specifically investigated when reports came out about multiple sailors testing positive.
In April of 2017, one Navy SEAL whistleblower spoke to CBS News about the problem. He explained that speaking against drug use was considered a “career killer.” This issue became even more widespread when several Congressional members expressed grave concern about U.S. special-operations units. Congress worried that the military was becoming too reliant on these types of units, and service members were being forced to a breaking point. Navy SEAL team members are expected to undertake multiple deployments, sometimes every six months, and very rarely get to break from their extreme routines. While lawmakers have attempted to propose multiple different solutions, it appears that Navy SEAL members are still dealing with increasing wear and tear due to excessive use of their services.