GI Rights Hotline

Military Discharges and Military Counseling

Call 1-877-447-4487


Comments: To view or download the complete regulation, click on the the link to it in the box above these comments.


2. Policy

a. Processing is mandatory for the following:

  • (1) Positive urinalysis that was tested and confirmed positive at a Navy Drug Screening Lab (NAVDRUGLAB) or other Department of Defense (DoD) approved lab. If the commanding officer (CO) determines the urinalysis result was caused by administrative errors (e.g., faulty local chain of custody, evidence of tampering) or the drug use was not wrongful (e.g., prescribed medication, unknowing ingestion), then the member shall not be identified as a drug abuser and the positive urinalysis is not a drug abuse incident. ...
  • (2) Admission of drug use.
  • (3) One or more military drug-related offense(s).
  • (4) Nolo contendere, no contest plea in civil courts.
  • (5) Civil conviction for a drug related offense(s).
  • (6) Actions tantamount to findings of guilt in civil courts:

(a) Deferred prosecution.

(b) Entry in pretrial intervention program.

b. Drug related offenses include the following:

  • (1) Drug Abuse - illegal or wrongful use, possession of controlled substances or attempts to commit drug offenses.
  • (2) Drug Trafficking - the sale, transfer, or possession with the intent to sell or transfer controlled substances.

Comments: Self-referring for treatment gets a discharge and is handled by notification procedures (see 3.a. below), not administrative board procedures.  Therefore, self referral does not, in itself, risk a court-martial and, according to the tables above, results in a characterization of service no worse then General (Under Honorable Conditions).

3. Procedures

a. Separation on the basis of drug abuse may be processed using notification procedures when the CO believes the circumstances surrounding the offense and its disposition do not warrant an “other than honorable” (OTH) characterization pursuant to MILPERSMAN 1910-300. Administrative board procedures should be used when the CO believes circumstances surrounding the offense warrant an OTH pursuant to MILPERSMAN 1910-300.

b. Per reference (b), drug abuse is defined as the illegal or wrongful use or possession of a controlled substance or prescription medication, including steroid usage other than that specifically prescribed by competent authority, or attempts to commit drug offenses. The wrongful use of inhalants (huffing) or the misuse of designer drugs must be processed under MILPERSMAN1910-142.

c. If board procedures are used and member waives right to an administrative board, under administrative board procedures, only the general court-martial convening authority or higher serves as SA. Note: Policy and procedures apply to both Active and Reserve Service members(e.g., drilling reservists who test positive on urinalysis must be processed for separation, regardless of when the drugs were ingested.


5.Characterization of Separation. Further guidance on characterization of service is provided in MILPERSMAN 1910-300. This table provides general information based on type of procedures used:

IF notification procedures are used, THEN least favorable characterization is GEN per MILPERSMAN 1910-402.

IF administrative board procedures are used, THEN least favorable characterization is OTH per MILPERSMAN 1910-402.

If AD Service member has less than 180 days of service, an entry-level separation may be appropriate. See MILPERSMAN 1910-308 for further guidance.