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Poll of Military Expected to Show Continued Drop in Marijuana Use

January 22, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A new Pentagon survey will show a continuing decline in the number of active-duty personnel who use marijuana, officials said Tuesday.

The survey, conducted last fall for the Pentagon by the Research Triangle Institute of North Carolina, is based on confidential responses from more than 20,000 members of the services.

The results, still to be analyzed and adjusted for statistical error, show a pronounced decline in marijuana use, one Pentagon official said.

The official and several other sources agreed to discuss the topic, but asked not to be identified, after the New York Times reported that the survey had found that 12% of the respondents said they had used marijuana in the preceding 30 days, compared with 37% in 1980 and 22% in 1982.

The 12% figure was disputed by Pentagon officials and by the director of the Research Triangle Institute, but one source said the results would be "good news." The study is expected to be finished in two to three weeks.

According to the Pentagon, in fiscal 1983, 5,810 individuals were separated from military service for drug abuse. In fiscal 1984, the last year for which complete figures are available, that number was 3,747.

The decline began when the military increased the use of random urinalyses. In fiscal 1985, ended last Sept. 30, the services administered about 3 million of the exams, which are mandatory for active-duty personnel.

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