Changes to Adjudicative Guidelines for Drug Involvement

As noted in a posting by William Henderson on our main site regarding the recent release of Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 4 – National Security Adjudicative Guidelines, a few changes were made to some of the adjudicative definitions and concerns. Guideline H: Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse has some changes all current security clearance holders and future applicants should be aware of. What is the concern? SEAD 4 states:

“The illegal use of controlled substances, to include the misuse of prescription and non-prescription drugs, and the use of other substances that cause physical or mental impairment or are used in a manner inconsistent with their intended purpose can raise questions about an individual’s reliability and trustworthiness, both because such behavior may lead to physical or psychological impairment and because it raises questions about a person’s ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations. Controlled substance means any “controlled substance” as defined in 21 U.S.C. 802. Substance misuse is the generic term adopted in this guideline to describe any of the behaviors listed above.”

Take note of the term “substance misuse”, as this can encompass a wide range of things ranging from over the counter medicines, prescriptions, weight-loss pills, hormone therapy, and steroids. The operative words in the guideline are “substances that cause physical or mental impairment.” Another notable disqualifying concern is “any illegal drug involvement information or holding a sensitive position.” This most likely means an automatic suspension of eligibility for access pending a final decision. Familiarize yourself with all of the updated guidelines in SEAD 4 and avoid any potential concerns that could result in a revocation or denial.