The Irish military have spent nearly €200,000 carrying out random drugs tests on staff.

The Defence Forces in the Republic of Ireland first introduced compulsory drug testing back in 2003. Since then, a minimum of 105 servicemen have tested positive for illegal substances, according to official figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Since 2012, the Defence Forces has paid a private company €199,673 to carry out 5,375 random drugs tests. Of those tested, 51 members of the armed forces have failed the tests by having a positive result.

The Irish Mirror reported that approximately one in 10 people serving in the Defence Forces were asked to take a drug test each year. The idea is that regular, random drug testing will stop people in the Navy, Army and Air Corps from taking illegal substances as there is a risk they will get caught.

Substance misuse ‘particularly dangerous’

The Defence Forces Information Handbook describes substance misuse as “particularly dangerous in the military environment and incompatible with military life.”

When military personnel are drug tested they are asked to provide a urine sample, which is checked straight away. If the results are inconclusive, the sample is sent off for further testing in a laboratory.

The British Army also carries out regular drug tests and figures released last year showed that an average of 480 soldiers a year are dismissed after being found will banned substances in their system.

According to the Mirror, most of the dismissals were related to the use of cannabis, although some people were also found to have taken recreational drugs including cocaine, ketamine and ecstasy.

Drug testing is carried out in a number of industry sectors and is particularly popular at organisations where there are safety-critical roles and the use of illegal substances could place lives at risk.

AlphaBiolabs provides workplace drug testing to a large number of employers and is able to provide accurate laboratory-confirmed results on the same day if necessary. The sample collection team is available round the clock so is able to respond quickly to the needs of businesses and organisations.