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Navy SEAL Culture ‘Eroding’ Amid ‘Growing’ Drug Problems, Former Members Say

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Illegal drug use among U.S. Navy SEALs is increasingly on the rise and is largely ignored by higher authorities, former team members told CBSNews.

Former team members alleged that growing numbers of SEALs are testing positive for illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy. The SEALs also alleged that reporting illegal drug use among fellow operators is a “career killer.” “You stand up for what’s right, and you get black-balled or driven out,” one former SEAL lamented.

A 2011 Department of Defense study found that approximately .97% of active duty personnel tested positive for illicit drug use. The most commonly used drugs by military personnel included marijuana and cocaine. The study however warned that testing increasingly revealed opioid abuse among troops, mirroring a rise among the general U.S. population.

The CBSNews report follows the expulsion of five SEALs for drug use in Fall 2016, which prompted a “safety stand down” meeting for all SEALs under Navy Capt. Jamie Sands. Sands told continued “I feel like I’m watching our foundation, our culture, erode in front of our eyes,” continuing that he would be instituting a policy which included urine tests for SEALs while on deployment.

Former SEAls said the growing drug use was eroding confidence among the SEAL teams and disturbing unit cohesion.“If we need your ability, I don’t need to be in the back of my mind thinking that, OK, can I really trust this guy? Is he 100 percent going to cover my back?,” one SEAL said describing the effects of drug use.

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Tags : navy seals
Saagar Enjeti