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My son called today from Ship 5. He just arrived at RTC last week and this is the first phone call. He was separated from his group yesterday for "popping" on a urine test ... For morphine ( of all things) He's never been a drug user, and had passed all the previous tests for the past 8 months! (he was in DEP) He is appealing, but what happens now? What are his chances of being proven innocent?? He wanted to retest, take a blood test, anything... Will they really end his Navy career just like that?!?? This just so devastating. Thanks for any advice or info.

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He can request for another test.  This happen to a E6 in my division that popped positive on a urine test.  This guy had 19 years in, and was 1 year from retirement.  He wanted to prove he was innocent.  Along with another drug test they had him do a polygraph.  So more than likely your son will do the same.  The E6 broke down as he was being "plugged up" on the polygraph and admitted he did drugs.  He was discharge about the same time his second drug test came back positive.  

If he is truly innocent he need to ask for this.  Remember, by having this on his record he will have to disclose this on any Federal package saying he was discharged because of drugs.  That's a lot of baggage to carry for ~60 years. 

He really needs to Fight, Fight, Fight to prove his innocence.  

Drug tests in the military are very strick...meaning the pee is tested three times and all three it must show up postive for them to come back with a postive.


He can try to fight it, but the mitliary has no tolerance for drugs. Also when they do tests in DEP, they don't test them all.  Yes they provide a sample, but not all of them are tested.  When in bootcamp 100% of the pee samples are tested.


Craig said about a poloygraph...that isn't up to your recruit...that is up to the Navy if they want to do that.  I can see them doing it for the case Craig talks about as that person has a career and had 19 years in the Navy, so the Navy had a vested intrest in that Sailor.  Your son hasn't even been there a month, it is no loss to the military to let your son go now.  Sorry may seem harsh but it is the reality

Recommend he has a plan "B"

Angie - I bet if the son insist that he never did it, then he could request a poly.  Any good lawyer can request this.  

However, it does have consequences.  The sailor I was taking about did this, and the command was totally ticked that they wasted their time.  He could have just as easily went to Captains' Mast and got the bust and the discharge.  However, they wanted to set an example with this guy since he wasted their time and ended up sending him to Court Martial.  He now has a federal conviction on his record since the crime could have resulted in more than one year confinement.   He ended up getting a Big Chicken Dinner (BCD) a Navy term for a Bad Conduct Discharge.

Again, if he request this route I bet they will allow him the poly, but he needs to know the outcome of his decision.    



I have seen lots of people who ended up seperarted who went through ship 5, demand things and they don't get them.  They are in bootcamp still and treated as such.  It isn't like they are in the fleet and have earned the rights to anything.  Popping postive goes to CO's mast....the CO makes the call....or if this person is lucky they will just get an admin discharge. 


I will agree to disagree as I can't say how I know so much about Ship 5.



Angie - I'm trying to learn something here, so bear with me with my questions.

What I'm trying to figure out is how you can say the CO can exercise his own rules and go against the UCMJ. He can't.  It's the letter of the law.  If this recruit decides to go to Court Martial, then that is his right.   The JAG manual say that any military person can request Court Martial in lieu of going to Captain's Mast (Article 15) at a shore command.  The CO can't take away.  So how can you say they can impose of conviction (even though it's an administrative action) against this recruit if he is subjected to the UCMJ and has requested a Court Martial in lieu of a Article 15?  

My thought is the people in Ship 5 don't know what they can/can not demand.  They just try to push these recruits out the door.  If they knew the rules, and they knew positively they did nothing wrong, then I would be screaming to have them give me a Court Martial. Do you really think I would just bend over and let the Navy expect me to take it?  I wouldn't.  I would fight it to the bitter end (if I knew I was innocent).   

Here is the JAG manual.  Look at para 0109 on page 1-14 which says:

The accused [talked to a lawyer prior to deciding
whether to demand trial by court-martial in lieu of
(captain's mast) (office hours)] [elected to give up
(his)(her) right to talk with a lawyer prior to
deciding whether to demand trial by court-martial
in lieu of (captain's mast) (office hours)]. The
accused was advised that acceptance of
nonjudicial punishment does not preclude further
administrative action against (him)(her). This
may include being processed for an administrative
discharge which could result in an other than
honorable discharge. In completing the remainder
of the form, the accused did not demand trial by
court-martial in lieu of (captain's mast) (office

JAG manual

Your up....

Having spent many of my post navy years in measurement science, I can tell you that false positives are not impossible. That said, they are also unlikely.

In fact, what is more common is that a generally good person gets caught doing a stupid thing.

Right now you are dealing with an organization that has become extremely expert at proving that their urine tests are accurate and that no one is ever wrongly accused. While I'm personally in no position to guide you procedurally, I can tell you that winning any appeal is going to require your son or his advocate to be a hell of lot smarter about drug screening than the Navy is.  Trust me... the poppy seed muffin gambit probably won't work.

While I applaud folks who fight on issues of principle, I also don't see any shame in refusing to tilt at windmills.

My son is well aware of the Navy's zero tolerance policy, and that's his policy as well. The only reason I can think of rather than a "false positive" is that he had his wisdom teeth out in mid December. He was given a prescription for oxycodone, but can that stay in your system for more than a month??? It's the ONLY other explanation. He has wanted this for so long, he would never do anything to jeopardize his care. Will anyone from legal actually advocate for him, or should we contact an outside attorney?
I don't see how consulting a with a civilian lawyer knowledgable of military law can hurt.
Tell you're son to stay strong....ship 5 is awful.  While there are many folks available to help out, there are many folks that try to ship them out.  The days are long and you are treated differently.  By the time I heard from my son, the decision gas already been made.  He ended up getting pneumonia and that's all it took.  I wish I could have told him to fight.  He will be given separation papers to sign real soon.  Once he's all over!   Then, it takes up to two weeks to finish the processing out piece from there.  Tell him to stay strong and appeal.  But let him know it's not a quick process 

Pookie - Per your question on how long drugs stay in your system.  Here is from the offical Navy Commanders quick reference guide (made by the Navy).  (see page 10)

Although this is not official, you might want to read this:


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