Defence Force drug probes average two per month

(New Zealand Defence Force/ Facebook)
(New Zealand Defence Force/ Facebook)

An average of two Defence Force personnel are being investigated for drug offences every month, figures released to Newshub show.

Since December 2014, the Defence Force has conducted 46 summary trials for controlled drug offences.

These tribunals are where officials determine whether or not the accused will face a court martial.

The majority of the personnel accused of drug use are no longer serving. Of the 46 trials conducted, 35 people have now left the Defence Force.

Officials say they can't pinpoint if that's definitely a result of the trials, because it would take significant research into individual files.

In an interview last month, Defence Force Surgeon General Brigadier Andrew Grey told Newshub the challenges around drug use today aren't very different than 15 years ago. He denies the problem is out of control.

"I do not think we have a significant problem," he said. "What we are looking at from a health perspective is how we can prevent misuse of any substance and how we can help our people."

The Defence Force has brought the Drug Foundation on board to investigate its policy discrepancies around controlled substances and report on a way forward.

"They best understand substance misuse within New Zealand and we've partnered with them so that we as a Defence Force can address substance…misuse and harm associated with such in a better and positive way,"  Brigadier Grey said.

Newshub.

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