Believe it or not, many people have taken drugs between 19 and 30 years of age. A 2003 national survey found around 60% of Americans between those ages had used an illegal drug, and about 20% had used a prescription drug for nonmedical reasons at some point in their lives.

However, the Drug Involvement criterion under the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information affects the clearance eligibility of many people by making any illegal use of drugs a potentially disqualifying condition.

According to the guidelines, drug abuse can “raise questions about an individual’s reliability and trustworthiness.” Past drug use could impair judgment and might make people question an individual’s ability or willingness to comply with rules, regulations, and laws. Prior illegal acts also open up people to potential blackmail or coercion in the present if someone has evidence of that activity.

Under federal law, a current user of illegal drugs cannot be granted security clearance; additionally, using illegal drugs a few months before submitting an application can be considered current use. If you can demonstrate you are no longer involved with drugs and are extremely unlikely to be involved with drugs in the future, you may be granted clearance.

In regards to alcohol addiction, while the substance is not illegal, abuse of it can lead to questionable decisions. Alcohol abuse is usually determined through either criminal conduct or a self-referral to a treatment program because of intervention or influence by family, friends, or a supervisory panel. Typically, the criminal acts stand out more than the alcohol use itself in terms of potentially compromising your security clearance. In order to be granted approval, you must follow through with the completion of treatment for the addiction, reduce or abstain from alcohol consumption, and take other actions to demonstrate you will no longer be abusing the substance.

If you abuse drugs or alcohol, you could be compromising your ability to gain security clearance for your job. However, if you have overcome your past abuse issues, you may be eligible to fight for that clearance. To give yourself the best chance of success, talk to an experienced security clearance lawyer. Our attorneys at The Edmunds Law Firm are ranked number 1 in helping people achieve their security clearance goals since 1976. We can help you file an appeal if your application has been denied. Denials related to substance abuse can be challenging, but our team is capable of thorough preparation, evidence gathering, testimony procuring, and more. We can use our extensive legal knowledge and experience in security clearance appeals to make your case as strong and accurate as possible. Let us talk to you about your options as soon as possible. Our attorneys have represented people from across all states. Call us at (800) 481-2526 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation today with one of our nationally ranked security clearance attorneys.