As more sailors opt to get a COVID vaccine and as cases continue to fall in the United States, the Navy is getting its drug-testing program back on a pre-pandemic footing.

On Friday, the sea service resumed its regular urinalysis testing regimen, doing away with limitations to the program that went into effect as COVID-19 took off around the globe in March 2020.

No longer will units be able to suspend “collection operations” in order to mitigate sailor exposure to COVID-19, Friday’s message states, a policy change that aligns with recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supporting the safe resumption of many pre-pandemic activities.

“Additionally, maintaining a robust and drug free workplace is Navy’s best deterrence to misuse of illicit and prescription drugs,” the message states.

Commands that feel they are unable to resume normal testing will have to explain why to their echelon three commanders, including those units based in areas where COVID restrictions would limit or prevent such testing.

Those who are in a restriction of movement or quarantine status still won’t be recalled for urine testing, unless for probable cause or if a commanding officer has consulted with their judge advocate general attorney.

The message also warns that working from home is not an excuse to forego testing.

As always, coordinators, observers and sample givers should all wash their hands at the end of the process, the message notes.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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