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The Nation : Guidelines Due on Military Drug Tests

December 25, 1987

The Pentagon is drafting guidelines to meet a congressional requirement that all recruits be tested for drug and alcohol abuse, but some officials said the new program will be more expensive and less effective than the current system of random testing. Under a little noticed amendment to the defense authorization bill signed on Dec. 4, the Pentagon has until Jan. 17 to design the new testing program and until early June to put it in place. However, some Pentagon officials say the new program will be far more expensive than the random tests of all military personnel that have cut drug abuse from about 30% in units of new recruits to about 2% throughout the armed forces. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have their own programs to screen recruits, but the Marine Corps is the only service that routinely tests all new recruits.

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