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What happens when you fail a military urinalysis test?

| Jul 21, 2021 | Military Law

The federal prohibition of certain drugs doesn’t stop people from using them or from being able to buy them. All it does is make their possession and use criminal. Plenty of otherwise upstanding people find themselves on the wrong side of the law just because of what they like to do in the privacy of their home on their own time.  

Individuals in the military are just as likely as anyone else to struggle with addiction or to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to cope with personal problems. Unlike the average person, someone serving in the military is at constant risk of a random urinalysis test.

Unlike civilians, those in the military generally don’t have the right to decline testing. Refusing the test itself could be a violation of the rules and could lead to disciplinary action. If you take a test and fail it, what happens then? 

You have the right to challenge the test results  

Although urine testing is more reliable than other forms of chemical drug testing, it can still return false positives. A medication that you take legally or bought over-the-counter could accidentally show up as a prohibited substance.  

Other factors ranging from environmental contamination to improper testing procedures could return compromised test results. Simply put, urinalyses are not infallible. If you failed a urine test and absolutely believe the results were incorrect, you have the right to challenge the test results.

You can ask for treatment instead of punishment 

Those serving in the military are at higher risk than other populations for certain mental health concerns, like post-traumatic stress disorder. Individuals who fail a drug test can recognize that they have a problem should ask for help instead.

The military provides resources for those trying to overcome addiction. They also provide mental health support. Although you will likely be at greater risk of unannounced testing after substance abuse intervention in the military, the alternative could be much more severe.

Understanding your rights after a failed urinalysis test in the military can help you protect yourself and your career.