Written answers

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

9:00 pm

Photo of Peter KellyPeter Kelly (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Question 79: To ask the Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel tested under the drug testing programme in 2006 and to date in 2007; the number and rank of those tested positive; the type and class of drugs detected; the action taken when a member tests positive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33989/07]

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Minister, Department of Defence; Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
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Defence Force Policy on Drug/Substance Abuse or Misuse is centred on the premise that the unlawful possession, supply or use of a controlled drug is incompatible with membership of the Defence Forces. In October 2002 the Defence Forces introduced a Compulsory Random Drug Testing (CRDT) programme. Since 2002 6,455 tests have been conducted with 0.4% of tests yielding a positive result.

In 2006 a total of 1,213 tests were conducted of which seven proved positive. The positive tests included four where cannabis was detected, one where cocaine was detected and two where amphetamine was detected. Of the seven personnel who tested positive one held the rank of sergeant and the other six held the rank of private or equivalent. In 2007, to date, a total of 1,808 tests were conducted of which six proved positive. The positive tests included two where cannabis was detected and four where amphetamine was detected. Of the six personnel who tested positive, one held the rank of corporal and the other five held the rank of private or equivalent.

The substantial increase in the number of tests conducted in 2007 follows the full roll-out of the CRDT programme. This now incorporates Reserve Defence Forces personnel. Personnel serving overseas are also liable for testing. Personnel who test positive for a controlled substance are liable for Administrative Discharge from the Defence Forces. The procedure that follows such a positive test includes the offer of B-sample testing. It also provides for representations to be made prior to a final decision regarding discharge.

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