Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 44 - Defence Forces drug tests [27101/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 44 - Defence Forces drug tests [27101/16]. (27 Sep 2016)

44. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Enda Kenny his views on the Defence Forces compulsory random drugs testing and targeted drugs testing programmes for illicit drugs; if there are changes planned for the programme in view of the record number of discharges in 2015 of personnel who failed a drugs test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27101/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The use, possession or supply of a controlled drug or volatile substance or the abuse of any such substance is an offence against military law. Due to the insidious and addictive nature of drug and substance abuse, it is particularly dangerous in the military environment where personnel are entrusted with both the access to and the responsibility of using firearms and other potentially lethal equipment. Drug misuse has serious implications for the safety of both members of the public and Defence Forces personnel.

 The unique and challenging nature of military service requires that military personnel are free from the presence or influence of any controlled drug or substance and I am fully supportive of both the Defence Forces Compulsory Random Drug Testing (CRDT) and Monitoring Programme and the Targeted Drugs Testing (TDT) Programme.

 In 2015, the Defence Forces drug testing team carried out 13 drug testing operations, testing a total of 1,184 Defence Forces personnel. Of the 1,184 tests, 98.56% were negative. There were 17 positive tests, representing 1.44% of the total tests conducted. Appropriate administrative action ensued in all of these positive result cases.

 Given the primary aim of both the CRDT and TDT programmes is deterrence, I believe it would be counter-productive to change the programme due to individuals testing positive. Rather, the responsibility is on the individual members of the Defence Forces to ensure that they fully comply with military law in this regard; which the vast majority do, as evidenced by the relatively low number of positive tests.

 On the basis of the above, there are no plans to change the current CRDT and TDT programmes.

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
27 September 2016
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