If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.

What do the Policies Say About Substance Use?

It’s no secret that substance use can impact not only military readiness, but also military careers. As a Service member, it’s important to be informed about the DOD and your Service branch’s policies on substances including prescription, illicit and prohibited drugs.

The policies state that Service members cannot possess, dispense, sell or use illicit and prohibited substances including marijuana, hemp and CBD. Also, Service members should not use prescription drugs in a way that does not follow the directions of their health care provider or take prescriptions that were given to others. All of this is considered problematic substance use and can result in serious consequences, including loss of a career.

What does the DOD policy say about marijuana?

What does the DOD policy say about hemp and CBD?

Find out more about how to protect yourself and your career from marijuana and other prohibited substances like CBD and hemp.

What do the Service policies say?

It’s also important to be familiar with your Service branch’s specific policies and to talk with your local alcohol and drug personnel if you have questions or concerns.

Air Force

  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program (AFI 44-121) [PDF 808KB]
    • Defines drug abuse as “the illegal, wrongful or improper use, possession, sale, transfer or introduction onto a military installation of any drug defined in this instruction.” The instruction defines drugs as controlled substances Schedules I-IV or any inhaled, injected or consumed substance other than alcohol that alters mood or function.


  • The Army Substance Abuse Program (AR 600-85) [PDF 3.1MB]
    • Defines drug abuse as “the use or possession of controlled substances, or illegal drugs or the nonmedical or improper use of other drugs (for example, prescription and over the counter drugs) that are packaged with a recommended safe dosage. This includes the use of substances for other than their intended use (for example, glue and gasoline fume sniffing or steroid use for other than that which is specifically prescribed by competent medical authority).”

Coast Guard

  • Military Substance Abuse and Behavioral Addiction Program: (COMDTINST 1000.10B) [PDF 1.7MB]
    • Defines drug abuse as “the use of a drug or substance for other than its intended legal use.” A drug incident consists of the intentional use of drugs for non-medical purposes; wrongful possession of controlled substances; trafficking, distributing, importing, or exporting controlled substances; intentional misuse of non-controlled substances; civil or military conviction for wrongful use, possession or trafficking of drugs; violation of a lawful order; and violation of a general order.

Marine Corps

  • Marine Corps Substance Abuse Program (MCO 5300.17A) [PDF 340KB]
    • Defines drugs misuse as the “use of any substance, with or without a prescription, with primary goal to alter one’s mental state (i.e., alter mood, emotion or state of consciousness) outside its medically prescribed purpose – includes medications, illicit drugs or use of commercial products outside of intended purpose (such as inhalants, synthetic cannabinoids, etc.).”
  • Prohibition on the Use of Hemp Products Updated (ALNAV 074/20)


  • Navy Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Control (OPNAVINST 5350.4E) [PDF 482KB]
    • Defines drug misuse as “wrongful use of a controlled substance, prescription medication, over-the-counter medication or intoxicating substance (other than alcohol). For purposes of this instruction, drug misuse also includes the intentional inhalation of fumes or gases of intoxicating substances with the intent of achieving an intoxicating effect on the user’s mental or physical state and steroid usage other than that specifically prescribed by a competent authority. “Wrongful or illegitimate use” means “the Service Member does not have a prescription or valid medical explanation for the presence of a drug that would account for the positive urinalysis test result. The use of any prescription medication not prescribed to the Service Member would be illegitimate.”
  • Prohibition on the Use of Hemp Products Updated (ALNAV 074/20)

Keep up to date on what the policies say so you can keep yourself and your career safe.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.