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Drug users beware

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Air Force has changed its drug testing policy. Along with the regular random testing, Smart Testing has been implemented to deter young enlisted and officer members in the 18 to 25 age group. 

According to Maj. Gen. James Roudebush, Deputy Surgeon General, the young Airmen represent the highest risk population. They are four times more likely to test positive for illicit drugs. 

The Smart Testing computerized selection program will randomly select members in the ranks of airman to staff sergeant and second lieutenant to first lieutenant at a rate of one test per member, per year. 

All other members will still be subject to the normal 65 percent tested per year. 

“I think the new Smart Testing is a clever idea because most of our Airmen who test positive for drugs are in those age ranges. Implemented October 2004, it can be a helpful tool for commanders,” said Ms. Jane White, 60th Air Mobility Wing demand reduction manager. 

When Airmen test positive for illegal drugs, they are investigated by either the Office of Special Investigations or Security Forces Office of Investigations. Travis has a joint drug enforcement team that takes care of most drug-related investigations. Every positive test for illegal drugs is investigated with no exceptions. 

Each case is viewed on an individual basis to determine appropriate outcome. 

“Trial by court-martial is often the appropriate response to illegal drug use or distribution. The law enforcement report is analyzed by the legal office to ensure the facts of the particular case satisfy all of the elements under Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and all witnesses are interviewed by the legal office,” said Maj. Charles Ayotte, 60th AMW chief of military justice. 

“Once the case is referred to court, the trial is scheduled, either before a military judge alone or before court members. If convicted and sentenced to jail, the accused goes directly from the courtroom to jail,” he added. 

Most drug offenses that occur on Travis include marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy and cocaine. 

“The joint drug enforcement team is designed to counter these drugs. Their entire job is to go after everyone associated with illegal drugs - If you use drugs, we’re coming after you,” said Special Agent Edward Slaton, 303rd Detachment OSI branch chief. 

Whether by urinalysis testing because of probable cause and random testing, or witness testimonies, there is an excellent chance of being caught. 

“My office, in conjunction with law enforcement personnel, will do our very best to assist commanders in finding and prosecuting persons involved with illegal drugs. It’s not personal, it’s business, and I take a great deal of pride in my work,” said Major Ayotte. 

According to Major Ayotte, the risk of getting in trouble is only part of the negative impact drugs can have on Airmen. 

“It’s not worth it. Using drugs can cost your career and your life. Your job in the Air Force is too important, too many people are counting on you, whether you realize it or not, to do your very best. You can’t do it if you are taking illegal drugs. Lives depend on what you do. Mission accomplishment depends on what you do,” said Major Ayotte.