Did the government drug test to join the military during Vietnam?

Did the government drug test to join the military during Vietnam? Did they ask about past drug use? If a person wanted to avoid getting drafted could he just say he had used drugs?

If I remember correctly, drug testing wasn’t much of an issue until the late 70’s, at least in the Navy. The most common drug in those days was pot and I don’t recall it being an issue for enlistment. The military needed manpower and they weren’t nearly as picky as now, w/ the all volunteer force.

It would have been too easy a way out of the draft.

We had our blood and urine tested (and just about every other part of our bodies) and trust me, if there were any substance that they were looking for, we would have taken it. In my own case, my friends threw me a preinduction party the night before and a lot of strange substances were swimming around in me during the testing and none of them proved any impedimentum to my being taken (unfortunately). Although it did make some of the eye charts entertaining.

They were pretty much so hungry for bodies that if you were breathing, they would take you. They figured they would break you of any bad habits. They had their quotas to make.

I smoked up the morning of my physical prior to joining the Navy. No mention was made of it if they did test my bodily fluids.

I had to pass a urine test before I could be processed out of Vietnam to fly home. That was in 1971, and it was the only specific drug test I was ever given during my Navy career.

I don’t think urine testing for substance abuse was viable or practical until the mid 1980’s. I had to take a polygraph exam in '81, to qualify for a position. Their main concern was drugs. If a urine test had been available, I’m pretty sure it would have been used instead of the magic machine.

I have no idea how viable or practical it was. I just remember standing in my underwear while a corpsman watched me pee in a cup.

could it have been for venereal disease, rather than substance abuse ?


Maybe that was the homosexual test.

Negative. SOP (in the Navy, anyway) was to have personnel (E5 and above) observe the direct flow of urine into the appropriate receptacle.

Squids that were assigned this daunting task referred to it as “Meat Gazing”.

This was during the late 80’s/early 90’s, so things may have changed since then.

Carry on.

I don’t think I was drug tested when I enlisted in 1971.

I do know, though, that the drug testing they actually did perform subsequent to that was, at best, iffy. I know that because, in my barracks, there were several soldiers that had partaken of illegal substances (crystal meth and pot) the night before a surprise piss test, and not one of them came back positive.

Did the Army provide amphetamines during Vietnam? I seem to recall that they were given to soldiers in the '50s.

I saw a show about illegal drugs that said some soldiers who were scheduled to come home were drug tested (mostly for heroin). If they tested positive they weren’t allowed to leave Vietnam until they went through a rehab.

I don’t recall it saying what % were tested, or if it was random or not.

Well, hell, all a man had to do was say he was a homosexual and that would have made him unfit for duty. That wasn’t a problem then…

I seem to recall that some spooks/Special Forces personnel might have been given some strong “wake up” stuff, but the chemicals the guys in my barracks were doing were strictly recreational.

During Vietnam, you could have crawled into the induction center with a needle hanging out of your arm and they would have asked you where you got mugged. They took anybody and everybody, unless your daddy was rich or influential nottomentionanynames. Hell, the guy who took my initial information was deformed and could barely walk. They cared more about bed-wetters than drug users.

So there were hypothetically people who didn’t want to go, but went becasue they didn’t want to claim they were homosexual, regardless if they were or not?

The 60s were a very different time. Gay sex was a felony in almost every state. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness (it was not unheard of for gay men and lesbians to be commited to mental institutions by their families). being classified 4-F for sexual deviancy could follow a man for life. Besides it wasn’t as easy as saying “I like boys.”. Induction centers had psychologists ready to grill potential conscripts. Even convincing them that you were gay didn’t guarantee you wouldn’t be drafted. Local boards tended to put meeting their quotas above all else.

Is the classification public? Were/Are there no privacy laws to protect the classification?