The Navy and Marines announced they will start conducting random alcohol breath tests as part of a larger initiative to improve health and safety.
While all branches of the U.S. military already conduct random tests for illegal drug use, this is the first time military personnel will have to undergo random breath tests for alcohol, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The new program is designed to identify soldiers or Marines who may need treatment or counseling, the article notes. Service members who test positive for alcohol will not be allowed to go on duty, but the incident will not be placed on their permanent record.
The new initiative will also discourage smoking by ending discounts on cigarettes at base stores.
In a speech televised and web-streamed live to sailors around the world on Monday, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the Navy will also begin random testing of urine samples this month for synthetic chemical compounds like “Spice.”
Navy submarine commanders were authorized to use Breathalyzers as part of a crackdown on alcohol abuse in 2009. Since then, surface commanders have started using the alcohol detection devices to conduct random tests, and drunk-driving rates have decreased.
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