United Kingdom

1,700 troops thrown out of the armed forces over past three years for taking cocaine

Nearly 2,000 troops have been thrown out of the armed forces in the past three years after testing positive for cocaine, new figures reveal. 

The data, released after a freedom of information request by The Times, shows that between June 2020 and May this year, 277 soldiers tested positive for the Class A drug. 

Of those, 231 were discharged from the military as a result. Ten soldiers were allowed to stay on despite having taken cocaine, whilst the remaining 36 were still being investigated. 

That figure is down from the previous year when 476 tested positive. And between June 2018 and May 2019, 551 soldiers tested positive and 535 were discharged, The Times reported. 

Nearly 2,000 troops have been thrown out of the armed forces in the past three years after testing positive for cocaine, new figures reveal

Cocaine use was also prevalent in the other services. In the Royal Navy, 84 took the drug and all were kicked out. 

However, that figure was down from 134 the previous year, when all but one of the seamen in question were discharged. 

In the RAF, 28 personnel tested positive for cocaine last year. All of them were sacked. 

The Navy's second in command, Vice Admiral Nicholas Hine insisted that the service had a 'zero tolerance' for drugs.  

However, the figures come just three months after ten soldiers serving in the Army's new £120million Experimentation Battlegroup were caught taking cocaine. 

In what was one of the biggest cases of cocaine abuse in Army history, the troops failed tests at their base in Cyprus. 

The data, released after a freedom of information request by The Times , shows that between June 2020 and May this year, 277 soldiers tested positive for the Class A drug

They binged on the Class A drug during a night out at the holiday resort of Paphos, 30 miles from their base.   

In February, ten soldiers who took cocaine and cannabis at an illegal party were kicked out of the Army.   

Their commanding officer sent them hundreds of miles to a testing facility to ensure the drugs were detected before vanishing from their system. 

Nine members of 3rd Battalion, the Royal Horse Artillery – a formation that dates back to 1793 – had taken cocaine in the party at Albemarle Barracks near Newcastle on January 15. One had taken cannabis.

With nearer drug testing facilities closed, they were driven 650 miles to and from Trenchard Lines military base at Upavon in Wiltshire, where they all failed compulsory drug tests (CDTs). 

In June 2019, three sailors serving on the submarine HMS Vengeance, which carries 16 nuclear missiles, were caught taking cocaine. 

Two months earlier, seven sailors were kicked off another Royal Navy submarine - HMS Talent - after taking the same drug.    

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