The alcohol consumption (Guideline G) and psychological conditions (Guideline I) guidelines contain language which encourages individuals to obtain treatment for their problems. The thinking behind this policy is that it might lessen the likelihood that individuals might not seek treatment for their problems out of fear that such treatment would jeopardize their eligibility for a security clearance. Unfortunately, the drug involvement guideline does not provide a similar provision.
Like the alcohol consumption guideline, the recency of the drug use is a critical factor in deciding whether or not sufficient time has passed that it is in the national interest to grant a security clearance.
While recreational use of marijuana has become legal in a growing number of states, it remains illegal under federal law and therefore must be reported regardless of whether it is legal under a state’s law.
The Concern: Use of an illegal drug or misuse of a prescription drug can raise questions about an individual’s reliability and trustworthiness, both because it may impair judgment and because it raises questions about a person’s ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations.
(a) Drugs are defined as mood and behavior altering substances, and include:
(1) Drugs, materials, and other chemical compounds identified and listed in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, as amended (e.g., marijuana or cannabis, depressants, narcotics, stimulants, and hallucinogens), and (2) inhalants and other similar substances;
(b) drug abuse is the illegal use of a drug or use of a legal drug in a manner that deviates from approved medical direction.
Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
(a) Any drug abuse (see above definition);
(b) testing positive for illegal drug use;
(c) illegal drug possession, including cultivation, processing, manufacture, purchase, sale, or distribution; or possession of drug paraphernalia;
(d) diagnosis by a duly qualified medical professional (e.g., physician, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist) of drug abuse or drug dependence;
(e) evaluation of drug abuse or drug dependence by a licensed clinical social worker who is a staff member of a recognized drug treatment program;
(f) failure to successfully complete a drug treatment program prescribed by a duly qualified medical professional;
(g) any illegal drug use after being granted a security clearance;
(h) expressed intent to continue illegal drug use, or failure to clearly and convincingly commit to discontinue drug use.
Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
(a) the behavior happened so long ago, was so infrequent, or happened under such circumstances that it is unlikely to recur or does not cast doubt on the individual’s current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment;
(b) a demonstrated intent not to abuse any drugs in the future, such as:
(1) dissociation from drug-using associates and contacts;
(2) changing or avoiding the environment where drugs were used;
(3) an appropriate period of abstinence;
(4) a signed statement of intent with automatic revocation of clearance for any violation;
(c) abuse of prescription drugs was after a severe or prolonged illness during which these drugs were prescribed, and abuse has since ended;
(d) satisfactory completion of a prescribed drug treatment program, including but not limited to rehabilitation and aftercare requirements, without recurrence of abuse, and a favorable prognosis by a duly qualified medical professional.