by SEAN RAYMENT The Mirror, posted 18 03 2017
Sources claim more soldiers are now booted out of the army for drugs offences than anything else
The number of soldiers busted for drugs in 2016 was the highest for at least seven years.
Figures show that out of an overall Army strength of 82,000, almost 800 tested positive –around one in every 100.
When the number of personnel stood at 102,000 in 2012, there were 530 busts.
That means that while the Army has shrunk by 20 per cent, drug abuse has risen 30 per cent.
Almost 3,000 soldiers have tested positive in the past four years and the vast majority were immediately booted out.
Senior sources claim that more soldiers are now dismissed over drugs than for any other offence – at a time when the MoD is struggling with recruitment and retention.
The most commonly used drug among those who tested positive was cocaine, followed by cannabis and ecstasy.
Government figures also show that 250 Navy and 170 RAF personnel failed drugs tests over the same period.
One serving officer said: “The British Army reflects society. Drug abuse is prevalent in all aspects of society and the Armed Forces are not immune.
"Soldiers go home at the weekends or on leave and meet up with friends and it’s easy for them to end up taking drugs, especially if they’ve had a few beers.
"But it is a costly mistake.”
Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army, recently warned its drug “problem” was undermining its ability to fight and called for “aggressive” government action.
Tory MP Johnny Mercer, an ex-Army officer, suggested soldiers might take drugs to recreate the “rush” they got from combat.
The MoD said: “Substance misuse is incompatible with service life and anybody falling short of our standards will be disciplined.”
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