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Coin Sniper
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posted
I want to make something clear to start. I didn't post his article as a knock on, or to open the Navy SPEC OPS community operators to criticism.

I posted this as these guys need support. Granted these guys are in the top 1% of Americans, are capable of, and do things that most of us wouldn't survive planning much less doing. Arguably one of the most difficult jobs in the military, doing and seeing things that would put most people in therapy for years. So when this caliber of individual has to turn to drugs to cope or keep going, there is a serious failure of command to manage their activities and mental/physical healthy.

What the hell is going on that drove these guys to drug use? OR is it just a few bad apples that created the 'drugs are cool' mentality?


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/na...investigation-finds/

One of the most honored and respected segments of the U.S. military is battling an enemy within. For the first time, Navy SEALs are talking publicly about drug abuse in the ranks.

“I’m sitting in this chair because I’m not proud anymore to be in the community because of the direction that it’s going,” said one of the Navy SEALs who came forward.

Three Navy SEALs -- one active duty, two retired -- agreed to talk to us on camera if we disguised their faces and change their voices to protect them from retribution.

“People that we know of, that we hear about have tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy,” said a SEAL. “That’s a problem.”

How prevalent is drug abuse in the SEAL teams?

“It’s growing,” said one SEAL. “The drug use, it’s growing.”

Last December, as an e-mail shows, the SEALs halted all training and ordered a safety stand-down because of the drug problem.

“I feel like I’m watching our foundation, our culture erode in front of our eyes,” said Capt. Jamie Sands, the commander of 900 SEALs based on the East Coast.

Sands had been on the job for just three months and already five SEALs had been kicked off the teams for using drugs.

“I feel betrayed,” Sands said. “How do you do that to us? How do you decide that it’s OK for you to do drugs?”

Every SEAL under his command was required to attend this meeting or else watch it online. In response to our request, the Navy released an edited version of the video.

Before Sands spoke, his chief of staff rattled off what he called a “staggering” number of drug cases which he said showed that the Navy’s Special Operations had a higher incidence of drug use than the rest of the fleet.

“It’s a population that is supposed to be elite performers, all with classifications, to where they have national security information and responsibilities,” a SEAL told CBS News. “That’s dangerous to my teammates.”

Another one said that “if we need your ability, I don’t need to be in the back of my mind thinking that, OK, can I really trust this guy? Is he 100 percent going to cover my back?”

Adm. Timothy Szymanski, head of the Naval Special Warfare Command, agrees, telling CBS News in a statement “anything above zero represents a disturbing trend for this elite force.”

So why do SEALs take drugs? You might think it was due to the stress of high-risk operations, but that’s not what Sands said.

“They think it was OK because they’ve seen other people do it,” Sands said in the video. “They think their teammates won’t turn them in. They think it’s kind of the cool thing to do, but they think it’s OK.”

A SEAL who blows the whistle on drug use does so at his own peril.

“You stand up for what’s right, and you get blackballed, or driven out,” one of the SEALs said.

Another agreed, saying “it’s a career killer.”




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Posts: 32022 | Location: Above the snow line in Michigan | Registered: May 21, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

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Posts: 40282 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
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SEALs are people, too.




"the meaning of life, is to give life meaning" I could explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
 
Posts: 34706 | Location: My Happy Little Tire Swing | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Unflappable Enginerd
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quote:
Originally posted by sigmonkey:
SEALs are people, too.
They are, and I'm wondering given the source of this article, just how bad it really is. Not trying to diminish anything, just curious...


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Posts: 3007 | Location: Headland, AL | Registered: April 19, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I work with two ex-SEALS. They are the real thing; we have background checks on both of them.

Both decent, hard working guys. But both tell stories of guys who were out of control, leaders who bought the culture, but not the discipline, lack of resources, bad coordination, changes to operations at the last minute that got people wounded or killed, a non-stop pace of operations that wears people, equipment and command down, and very little support when they need it.

I am personally acquainted with two team guys, and one Army Special Forces guy who are being given the run around by the VA on disability benefits, health care, back pay, and benefits.

It's a cluster fuck. It's bad when they are in, and it doesn't get much better when you get out.

Drug use in an environment of that much stress is not surprising.



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Given the stress they're under, emotional pressure and the injuries they must sustain frequently, for which they may well be prescribed opioids, I guess it's sadly not surprising.


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Posts: 17484 | Location: SE PA | Registered: January 12, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Big Stack
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I bet these guys take a lot of fairly serious injuries. I also bet there's a lot of pressure on both the operators and the medical staff that support them to get them back in action as soon as possible. This could likely often been achieved by giving the operators various painkillers. We've seen this in the civilian world, and most definitely in the VA. Why would the military be any different. And we've also seen the problems it's caused.
 
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Bad dog!
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Like stoic-one, not to diminish anything, but I'm suspicious of anything from CBS, or ABC/NBC/CNN/MSNBC.


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Posts: 8595 | Location: pennsylvania | Registered: June 05, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by justjoe:
Like stoic-one, not to diminish anything, but I'm suspicious of anything from CBS, or ABC/NBC/CNN/MSNBC.


I agree.
 
Posts: 4664 | Registered: April 02, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In my day as a "dirty boat guy" (25 years ago) there were plenty of guys who got kicked out of the teams for all manner of things, drugs included. Hell... a very good friend of mine lost his trident for alcohol abuse that manifested itself when he decided that the barracks passageway would make a fine range for his pellet gun.

As has been said, SEALs are people too. They aren't infallible, this includes those in leadership postilions.

quote:
Originally posted by BBMW:
I bet these guys take a lot of fairly serious injuries. I also bet there's a lot of pressure on both the operators and the medical staff that support them to get them back in action as soon as possible. This could likely often been achieved by giving the operators various painkillers. We've seen this in the civilian world, and most definitely in the VA. Why would the military be any different. And we've also seen the problems it's caused.

This is all likely true. However, if you read the article you know that they are talking about recreational drugs.




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Posts: 6279 | Location: New Orleans Area | Registered: January 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The real story should be the drug usage in THE UNITED STATES is staggering. Addiction does not respect education, social class or elite military members. It is not a moral issue it is a serious health problem just like cancer. It may be a personal choice initially to drink alcohol or use opiates for pain, but if you are genetically predisposed and have the right environment one out of ten will develop a problem. That is just how it is.
 
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The Ice Cream Man
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Performance enhancing drugs, I would say would be a given - and, frankly, should probably be administered to any Tier 1 soldier who wants them.

Not surprised by the pain killers.

Alcohol's been an issue with every military in history, I think.
 
Posts: 3310 | Location: Republic of Ice Cream, Myrtle Beach, SC | Registered: May 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Unflappable Enginerd
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Alcohol was/is a cultural thing among the team guys I had exposure to back in the 80's working around Little Creek VA, I don't remember hearing about other drugs. I always assumed that there were bound to be people all over the services that smoked weed, it's just that damn common.

The scale of team operations, and the number of SPECOPS guys has increased by an order of magnitude since 9/11/01, perhaps that plays into it.


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Posts: 3007 | Location: Headland, AL | Registered: April 19, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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People do not seek to become drug addicts out of a desire to escape reality… this is common fiction. Psychological drivers do not cause addiction.

They have a fucking disease. It is a metabolic brain chemistry malfunction with genetic roots. It is the improper triggering of the pleasure-reward system of your brain.

Not everyone has this disease and therefore it's imperative that you understand what you're dealing with if you have a single iota of true concern.





"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
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Bad dog!
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quote:
The real story should be the drug usage in THE UNITED STATES is staggering.


I agree. I think that is the real story. And given that, you could focus in on any particular group and say there is a problem here. Doctors. LEOs. Just about any group.

I teach at a college in a very small, quiet little Pennsylvania town. Picture book, in many ways. There have been community meetings called in the fall and winter to try to address the drug epidemic that has resulted in many, many ODs, and even deaths. One news report I saw in November cited something like 19 deaths from overdose.

Heroin is cheap and readily available. Other opioids are also easily available, along with meth, hallucinogenics, and, of course, pot.


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Posts: 8595 | Location: pennsylvania | Registered: June 05, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't think this has anything to do with battle stress as some are suggesting. If it is, then they're weaker than their predecessors.

They've attained rock-star status. Members speak publicly about their exploits, they appear in movies, they write books etc. Many of these guys don't live the code and don't have the discipline of the men who built the institution.

Rampant drug use isn't surprising to me.
 
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^^^^^^^^
What he said. (Signified)
 
Posts: 9424 | Location: NE OHIO | Registered: October 22, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by justjoe:
quote:
The real story should be the drug usage in THE UNITED STATES is staggering.


I agree. I think that is the real story. And given that, you could focus in on any particular group and say there is a problem here. Doctors. LEOs. Just about any group.

I teach at a college in a very small, quiet little Pennsylvania town. Picture book, in many ways. There have been community meetings called in the fall and winter to try to address the drug epidemic that has resulted in many, many ODs, and even deaths. One news report I saw in November cited something like 19 deaths from overdose.

Heroin is cheap and readily available. Other opioids are also easily available, along with meth, hallucinogenics, and, of course, pot.


So if there was a prohibition of drugs (I think they're already is) then people wouldn't use as much? How did that work when we prohibited alcohol? Is that your premise?

Do you really think someone's going to start using heroin just because it shows up in your mailbox? Is that what you would do, become a junkie because of availability?

Furthermore what do we do with the 80% of the population that has no issue with opioids? Why should they be denied pain relief?





"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
~Robert A. Heinlein
 
Posts: 22714 | Location: Row 2F | Registered: February 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I call bullshit.

I'm sure some percentage has problems, just like every other group of humans, but it seems an awful lot like another media attempt to discredit our military.

OH no! Drugs! Not anything more government oversight and regulation can't solve, I'm quite sure. Roll Eyes
 
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I did two tours in Vietnam (no bragging just presenting my "bonafides". I've seen Librium and Valium passed out at sick call like candy. I think that drug use in the military is often ignored by the command structure because it will reflect badly on them and result in not-to-great fitness report.


"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants." Thomas Jefferson
 
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