By Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Although Hydrocodone and Benzodiazepine are prescribed to treat severe pain, and a variety of ailments such as alcohol dependence, seizures, anxiety, panic, agitation and insomnia, the Department of Defense has expanded military drug testing for these commonly abused prescription drugs.
The DoD is expanding military drug tests to adapt to current trends of prescription drug abuse, said Steven L. Butler, substance abuse prevention specialist, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Hydrocodone and compounds containing it are marketed, in varying forms, under a number of trademarks, including Anexsia, Biocodone, Damason-P, Dicodid, Duodin, Hycet, Hycodan (or, generically, Hydromet), Hycomine, Hydrococet, Hydrokon, Hydrovo, Kolikodol, Lorcet, Lortab, Mercodinone, Norco, Norgan, Novahistex, Orthoxycol, Panacet, Symtan, Synkonin, Vicodin, Xodol and Zydone.
Benzodiazepine is found in common drugs such as Alprazolam, Bretazenil, Bromazepam, Brotizolam, Chlordiazepoxide, Cinolazepam, Clorazepate, Clotiazepam, Cloxazolam, Delorazepam, Diazepam, Estazolam, Etizolam, Flunitrazepam, Flurazepam, Flutoprazepam, Halazepam, Ketazolam, Loprazolam, Lorazepam, Lormetazepam, Medazepam, Midazolam, Nimetazepam, Nitrazepam, Nordazepam, Oxazepam, Phenazepam, Pinazepam, Prazepam, Premazepam, Quazepam, Temazepam, Tetrazepam and Triazolam, which are found in many common, brand-name prescriptions.
“Marines who are using prescription drugs that were not prescribed by their health care providers or are inappropriately using legitimately prescribed medications are encouraged to voluntarily seek medical treatment and rehabilitation in a military medical treatment facility prior to the initiation of testing for these drugs,” according to Marine Administrative Message 154/12.
“All active-duty and reserve Marines who self-refer for drug abuse and to qualified representatives (anyone in the chain-of-command) shall be screened for drug dependency at a medical facility. Those who are diagnosed as ‘drug dependant’ are exempt from disciplinary action, are processed for administrative separation, and offered treatment. Persons who are not diagnosed as ‘drug dependant’ are not exempt from disciplinary action, are processed for administrative separation, and not offered treatment,” according to the MARADMIN. “However, under this SECDEF prescription drug testing initiative, individuals who self-refer for Hydrocodone and Benzodiazepine abuse, prior to May 1, 2012, shall be exempt from disciplinary action in order to afford them the opportunity to obtain appropriate treatment, avoid a positive urinalysis and avoid disciplinary action.”
“The whole purpose of changing and adapting is to protect mission unit readiness and the health and welfare of the individual,” said Butler. “We’re not out to get individuals, but to target and deter.”