Australian soldiers sacked for ice addiction
Ice and speed are now the most abused drugs in the Australian Defence Force with positive tests for the dangerous amphetamine sparking the sackings of dozens of soldiers and active investigations into many more.
In the last year alone, 133 ADF members tested positive to illegal drugs, resulting in 28 soldiers being discharged and 87 still formally under investigation.
The details are contained within internal briefing documents exclusively obtained by The Daily Telegraph, which reveal the extent of drug abuse within the military and the way soldiers with addiction are cast aside.
In the documents the ADF was warned that ice abuse had become the most prevalent problem, accounting for the overwhelming majority of positive test results.
Cocaine abuse was a close second, with ADF bosses blaming its prevalence in the wider public and ease of access for a spike in usage.
Since July last year, 49 soldiers had tested positive to amphetamines and methamphetamines as the ADF ramped up testing methods, including the launch of a hair and saliva test trial in addition to urine tests.
Veterans 360 CEO Jay Devereux said it was a "tragedy" that the ADF was sacking soldiers who tested positive since their drug use was often caused by mental health conditions brought on through active duty.
Mr Devereux - who runs homeless shelters for veterans - said that the majority of former soldiers who walked through his door were dishonourably discharged and had turned to drugs and alcohol.
However, he said the ADF had to strike the fine balance between ensuring soldiers could perform their duties and still taking responsibility for mental health.
"It is scary that ice is the one they find most prominently because it is a dangerous drug," he said.
"But the drug issues are not being dealt with in Defence. The ADF will put them through rehabilitation programs and they put them into a hospital-type environment for a few weeks but they need to be putting soldiers through hard line programs like AA.
"We see people who are administratively discharged as result of a drug and alcohol problem and again you cannot always blame the solders for deciding to use alcohol and drugs if they are dealing with mental health trauma."
In the last 10 years there were also 49 soldiers who tested positive for illegal drugs after having their drink spiked.
The documents warned that the availability of drugs in Australia had led to the increase in illegal substance abuse. "The Prohibited Substance Testing Program indicates that the use of amphetamine-type substances is the main drug type resulting in a positive test result," the briefing document warned.
An ADF spokesman said the number of soldiers who tested positive for amphetamines or methylamphetamine was small given that 25 per cent of the Defence Force was tested each year.