- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The ranks of one of the nation’s most elite war-fighters — the Navy SEALs — are struggling with a drug abuse problem.

One active-duty SEAL and two retired members recently came forward to discuss a “growing” drug problem within their special operations forces community. The issue was serious enough in December to warrant a training stand-down to address the matter.

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

Edited video of Capt. Jamie Sands, the commander of 900 SEALs based on the East Coast, speaking to SEALs was also provided to the network after it approached officials.

“I feel like I’m watching our foundation, our culture erode in front of our eyes,” the officer said, calling the number of drug cases “staggering.” “I feel betrayed. How do you do that to us? How do you decide that it’s OK for you to do drugs?”

Capt. Sands’ comments came after five SEALs were removed from their teams within three months due to drugs.

Adm. Timothy Szymanski, head of the Naval Special Warfare Command, told CBS that “anything above zero represents a disturbing trend for this elite force.”

Part of the problem, based on Capt. Sands’ speech, appears to be the nation’s heavy reliance on the SEALs — they train or conduct missions at a rate not conducive to regular drug testing.

“We’re going to test on the road,” the officer said. “We’re going to test on deployment. If you do drugs, if you decide to be that selfish individual, which I don’t think anyone’s going to do after today. I believe that. Then you will be caught.”

CBS spoke to another SEAL via an untraceable cellphone, who summed up the problem in three words: “We need help.”

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