Local retired Navy SEAL reacts to CBS investigation on Sailor’s drug use

Posted at 10:31 PM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 22:43:59-04

Virginia Beach, Va - Navy SEALs are some of the toughest and most elite members of the military and many of them are right here in our own backyard.

A CBS investigation examined what some are calling a growing problem of drug use.

News 3 talked to retired Navy SEAL Don Mann about the investigation who said drug abuse in the military is nothing new and he saw it firsthand during his time in the service.

Mann talked about the zero tolerance for drugs in the military.

“You’re around weapons. You’re around equipment,” said Mann, “If you make a mistake you could kill your own buddies so there's zero tolerance for it.”

There is a zero tolerance for drug abuse but a CBS investigation revealed concerns among leadership.

"I feel betrayed. How do you do that to us? How do you decide that it's okay to do drugs,?" said Captain Jamie Sands, a commander of 900 Seals on the East Coast to a room full of sailors in a video provided to CBS.

According to the CBS investigation Sands held an all hands meeting to talk about the issue back in December.

Under the terms of remaining anonymous three SEALs- one active and two retired spoke to CBS.

“People that we know of, that we hear about have tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy. That's a problem," said a SEAL.

Sands’ Chief of Staff said the Navy Special Operations had higher drug use rates than the rest of the fleet.

Mann agrees drug abuse is a problem for some saying, “They are not immune to drugs or substance-abuse just because they are a tough, courageous, brave SEAL.”

But Mann said he doesn’t think SEALs have a greater problem than any other group in the military.

“It made it look like SEALs, more than anybody are taking drugs and it's not the case. The leadership doesn't put up with it. The leadership demands 100% effective for their job,” said Mann, “There are the exceptions and that's what's being talked about in the news right now.”

And the CBS investigation revealed that leadership is vowing change, promising more drug tests.

"We're going to test on the road. We're going to test on deployment,” said Sands.

“I really find it so hard to believe in the SEAL community it's any higher than anywhere else,” said Mann.

To read the entire CBS News investigation, click HERE.