Developments in Hill’s drug testing program will affect both military and civilian members on base.
A change to the testing procedures now allows civilians sent for drug tests to be screened for synthetic opiates like Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.
The opiate testing can be completed for “reasonable suspicion” or after accidents and safety mishaps and in conjunction with other tests for marijuana, PCP, opiates, amphetamines and cocaine.
Misusing prescription drugs, either belonging to an individual or someone else, can lead to severe health problems, said Sue Smith, Hill AFB Drug Demand Reduction Office.
“A person can have an adverse drug interaction if taking other medication, either prescription or over the counter, and it could lead to overdosing which, depending on the medication, can put a person at risk for cardiovascular problems or even death,” Smith said.
She said many of the drugs that are abused or misused are addictive in nature. “There are more deaths from opioid overdoses than any other prescription drug,” Smith said. “Once addicted to a particular drug it’s very hard to discontinue without some sort of physical withdrawal symptom, which keeps the person continuing to take the drug.”
Another Hill program change applies to military members who report for testing, but cannot or will not provide a specimen in the allotted amount of time.
Smith said “shy bladder” is not a typical problem she sees in her office, but there have been incidents in the past year.
Previously, if a person had documentation in their medical records as having shy bladder syndrome, they could test in the privacy of a stall. Now the Air Force has taken that option away.
“The waiting period used to be three hours and then we had to release the member,” Smith said. Now it’s eight hours and some of those hours will be in the presence of supervision.
Members can be turned over to their first sergeants who will be responsible for the Airman until they can give a sample. If a specimen isn’t obtained within eight hours, the person can be released and then taken to the clinic for an examination the following duty day.
If there is no medical reason for non-compliance, the base legal office and the member’s commander will make a determination on what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken.
For more information, contact Drug Demand Reduction at 801-775-5518.