Obtaining Security Clearance

Illegal Drug Use is Mitigated: Clearance Granted

In another recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) case the board decided that the concerns about the applicant’s recreational illegal drug use over a ten-year period that spanned from 2001 to 2011 were mitigated.  The applicant disclosed information detailing his recreational drug use from 2001 to 2011 that included the use of marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and illegal use of prescription drugs.  These concerns fall under Guideline H (Drug Involvement) and as a result, a Statement of Reasons (SOR) was issued to the applicant.

honesty – the best policy

The board reviewed all of the information in the case and also considered the applicant’s testimony before making a decision.  They noted that the applicant was a college student during this time, first as an undergraduate, and then later as a graduate student, during which time he stated he was pressured by peers to experiment with the drugs, and illegally used Adderall to stay awake in his college classes.  In the applicant’s favor was the fact that he was totally forthright and honest about his past drug use on his security clearance application, during the security interview, and during testimony in front of the board.  He has abstained from all illegal drug use for over three years, has avowed his intent to never use illegal drugs again, no longer lives and works in the previous environment, and no longer associates with individuals who use drugs.  As a working professional, the applicant has gained the trust of his supervisors and coworkers who all provided favorable references.  Based on the “whole person concept” the board felt that all of these factors mitigated the concerns in the SOR and determined him to be eligible for a security clearance.

In this instance the applicant’s honesty and acknowledgment of past mistakes, along with steps taken to mitigate any future concerns overcame the issues identified in the SOR.  As a reminder, no two cases are exactly the same and every case is decided on its own merits. This case is a good example of how to overcome concerns about past illegal drug use.