Volume 34, Issue 4 (July 1989)
Comparison of Drug Abuse in Different Military Populations
Quantitative analytical data, generated at the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory, Great Lakes, Illinois, expressed as percent confirmed positives for four drugs of abuse (marijuana metabolite, cocaine metabolite, amphetamines, and opiates) are summarized and compared according to their population of origin. The four populations of interest included U.S. Navy and Marine Corps recruits and service school members.
Confirmed positive urines for marijuana showed a small but significant decline (p < 0.001) from about 1.2% confirmed positive among U.S. Navy recruits entering service school commands in 1984 to 0.9% among Navy service school members in 1988 and from 2.0% among U.S. Marine Corps recruits entering service schools in 1984 to 0.8% among Marine Corps service school members in 1988. Navy and Marine Corps recruits showed a significantly higher (p < 0.001) confirmed positive use rate (6.1 and 3.3%, respectively) compared to service school members, perhaps reflecting their recent civilian use pattern. The relatively high confirmed positive cocaine rate among all groups may have reflected an increasing trend in all populations, confirming a similar trend in high school and other civilian populations. Generally, the frequency of confirmed positive urines with amphetamines and opiates, based upon the findings at the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory at Great Lakes, has been static except for an apparent recent increase in amphetamine use in 1988. The decline in confirmed positive drug urinalyses among service school members from both the Navy and Marine Corps indicated that perhaps education and maturity had a positive effect upon their behavior.