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Army Substance Abuse Program

Friday, July 16, 2021

What is it?

The Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) mission is to take care of people by preventing the misuse of legal substances and the use of illicit drugs that may harm the individual, negatively impact unit cohesion and the combat readiness of the force.

What are the current and past efforts of the Army?

In July 2020 ARD published an update to AR 600-85, Army Substance Abuse Program. The new regulation reinforces the Army’s commitment to people by ensuring a ready and resilient force. Among other changes, the Army:

  • Expanded the list of substances Soldiers are tested for to include “Spice” (Synthetic Cannabinoids)and “Bath Salts” (Cathinones).
  • Added gambling disorders to the Prevention, Education, and Training objectives.
  • Aligned ASAP’s Clinical Care primary responsibility to the Surgeon General.
  • Updated guidance for administrative processing for separation of Soldiers for alcohol or other drug abuse.
  • Implemented the designation of certain positions as Testing Designated Positions under the Army Drug-Free Federal Workplace Program.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

The Army recently published Army Directive 2021-21, “Use of Prescribed Medications and Controlled Substances”. In accordance with the policy,

  • prescription medications will be considered expired and illegitimate for use six months after the most recent fill date, as indicated on the prescription label.
  • medications and controlled substances without a valid prescription will be considered illegitimate.

The Army will continue to prohibit personnel from using illegitimate prescription medication. Under Uniform Code of Military Justice and/or administrative actions, the use of illegitimate medications is punitive, and violations of this provision may subject offenders to punishment.

The Army will continue with its efforts to prevent abuse of expired legally prescribed prescription medications to reduce the potential for Soldiers to harm themselves, negatively impact their careers, and impair the readiness of their units.

Why is this important to the Army?

Use of illegal drugs and misuse of alcohol and prescription drugs are inconsistent with Army values and the standards of performance, discipline and readiness necessary to accomplish the Army’s mission. The Army Substance Abuse program strengthens the overall fitness and effectiveness of the Army ́s workforce and enhance the combat readiness of Soldiers.


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