U.S. Army ROTC Disenrollment Board for Drug Use: Cadet Recommended for Retention

Military Cases

An Army ROTC Cadet was processed for disenrollment for wrongful drug use. This disenrollment action stemmed from her testing positive for Adderall during a unit-wide urinalysis. Because she did not have a valid prescription of the drug, the Army presumed she wrongfully ingested it. For all practical purposes, the Army has a zero tolerance policy for drug use so in accordance with this policy, it initiated disenrollment. The Cadet had received well over $100,000.00 in scholarship benefits from the Army. It was also her dream to commission as an Army Officer and become a pilot. As a result of these factors, she and her family retained Military Defense Attorney John L. Calcagni III to represent her at a disenrollment board. Attorney Calcagni worked with the Cadet to present an innocent ingestion defense on her behalf. By law, drug use is wrongful if and when a Soldier knows the nature of the ingested substance. In this case, the Cadet was out socializing with a fellow classmate. They departed a bar after having a few drinks and returned to the Cadet’s apartment where she developed a headache. She asked her classmate if he had any over-the-counter pain medication on his person after noticing she had run out of her own supply. The classmate retrieved from his bag a small pill box. In it he normally carries a number of prescribed medications, to include Adderall and over-the-counter pain reliever. The intoxicated classmate inadvertently and unknowingly passed the Cadet one of his Adderall pills. She took it without hesitation believing it was a pain reliever. A day or two later, she participated in the urinalysis without incident and much to her surprise, tested positive for Adderall. At the board, Attorney Calcagni aided the Cadet with introducing a signed affidavit of her classmate regarding the aforementioned facts. She also offered certified copies of his medical records and prescription medical history, along with photographs depicting similarities in size, shape and color between the Adderall and pain reliever. The Cadet also offered extensive evidence such as performance evaluations, academic records and statements of support that strongly suggested unlawful drug use was completely inconsistent with her true character and nature. The Cadet also offered her own testimony at the board, along with the affiant classmate. Based on this collective evidence coupled with evidentiary and legal arguments by Attorney Calcagni, the Investigating Officer who presided over the event recommended the Cadet’s retention.