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They're supposed to be among the fittest, strongest and bravest men and women in the UK - there to protect us when we need it most.
The armed forces are expected to uphold the highest of standards and only the toughest survive. But army bases in the country are awash with illegal drug abusers and authorities are battling to stamp them out.
A LADbible investigation found hundreds of soldiers in the armed forces are being sacked each year for using drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, anabolic steroids and ketamine.
And Labour MP Dan Jarvis, formerly an army major himself, described the issue as 'concerning' as he called for substance abusers to be booted out of the military.
Latest figures show 489 armed forces personnel were discharged due to drug use between January and September last year.
For 2016, that figure stood at 741. That's a drastic rise compared to 662 in 2015 and 569 the year before.
Mr Jarvis MP, who served in the Parachute Regiment before being elected to serve Barnsley Central, said: "Increasing levels of drug use in our Armed Forces is a concerning development that needs to be addressed.
"It must be made clear that, regardless of the burdens placed on young people today, the illegal use of drugs is an unacceptable and ineffective solution.
"With the number of drug-related dismissals remaining high, the Ministry of Defence are responding in an entirely appropriate way, setting a precedent of zero tolerance.
"It's vital that our Armed Forces continue to tackle those individuals that commit such offences, whilst also working to better understand the reasons why these figures are increasing."
Army bosses always warn new recruits of the dangers of drug abuse and how it can affect their ability to carry out their duty.
In fact, official advice handed out to budding soldiers before they join says: "Drug or Substance misuse constitutes a direct threat to the operational effectiveness of the Armed Forces; the security and safety of Service personnel; and, potentially, the security and safety of the civilians whom they protect.
"Illegal misuse of drugs or substances by Service personnel also damages the reputation and standing of the Armed Forces.
"For all of these reasons, the misuse of drugs or substances is not tolerated within the Armed Forces."
Military personnel are therefore subjected to random drug testing throughout their career and face being sacked in disgrace if they record a positive test. But our findings show many still refuse to play by the rules.
Cocaine is among the most common drug found in UK army bases and has led to a string of dismissals in the past four years.
Unidentified soldiers based in Didcot, Edinburgh, London, and Salisbury were just some of those who were caught with the substance in their system during a routine drug test.
And while a one-strike policy is the norm, some offenders are given a second chance if they have taken drugs within the first 14 weeks of signing up.
An army spokesman told LADbible this happens when the young soldier in training has shown promise and is believed to have made an uncharacteristic mistake.
The spokesman also defended the number of sackings, insisting the stats show drug abuse is significantly less common in the military than in civilian workplaces.
He added: "We do not tolerate drug abuse as it is incompatible with military service, and soldiers caught taking drugs can expect to be discharged."
Words: Sean-Paul Dorran
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