Security Clearance and Past Illegal Drug Usage – What Can You Do?

Posted on Aug 24, 2015 By Ron Sykstus

Attorney Ron SykstusOver the past several years, the government has tightened its rules regarding granting security clearances.  My previous blog posts regarding security clearances cover the changes instituted by the government to give closer scrutiny in deciding whether to grant an individual access to classified material.

As I have written previously, the three biggest areas where people run into problems regarding the granting of a security clearance are with regard to financial issues, illegal drug usage and alcohol abuse.

The questions posed to individuals under oath and penalty of perjury ask a wide array of questions to include the use of illegal drugs in the past seven years and if illegal drugs have EVER been used while holding a security clearance.  Section 23 of the SF 86, which is the form that is required to be completed up front and submitted prior to the issuance of a security clearance, covers not only usage itself but also asks whether treatment has ever been advised or ordered among an array of other topics.   A current version of the SF 86 used by the government can be found here.

Dealing With Past Drug Issues

If the government ever raises a concern about someone’s past drug usage, here is how I suggest that the individual handle this concern, this assumes that the person is now clean and sober and has changed his or her life.  The moment someone gets wind of the fact that the government has security clearance concerns regarding past drug usage, (for example, when the government issues interrogatories questioning past drug usage or alleges it in a Statement of Reasons (SOR) with an intent to deny or revoke a clearance), I recommend that the individual immediately undergo twice monthly independent drug testing.  I would do this twice per month, each and every month, until the person is 100% sure that the government’s concerns have been alleviated.  To that end, I have referred clients to a very reputable company that does this type of testing. The twice monthly drug test results are mailed directly to the individual.  I then have the individual keep all of the drug tests so that it can be presented to either a security clearance adjudicator and/or security clearance administrative judge to show that the individual is, in fact, clean and sober.  This type of evidence will be irrefutable and it will greatly support the testimony of the individual who has now gotten his or her life in order.

The company that I recommend for recurrent drug testing is as follows: can be a perfect solution to alcohol and/or drug use concerns or accusations.  Urine, hair and blood testing are available without a court order or doctor’s referral.  Random testing is available at varying frequencies (weekly, 2x per month, monthly).  When someone registers for a plan, then contacts the participant via text message, email and telephone call when the test is purchased.  Participants arrive at a nearby laboratory (e.g. LabCorp), give their name and the screen is administered.  The results are made available on a secure website for the participant’s review shortly thereafter.

I have been handling security clearance cases for several years.  If you have a concern regarding getting or keeping a security clearance, please contact me for a consultation.