Drug and substance abuse has been an issue of great concern to many people across the world. The military institutions are particularly sensitive to the issue and require particular attention when addressing it. This paper will address the issue of drug and substance abuse among the marine unit in the United States military forces. The problem of drug abuse is a complicated issue among the marines which affects the operations of the unit and the life of the service men negatively.
The marine corps are a branch of the American defense forces. They were established in the 1880s. The unit is tasked with multiple functions carrying operations in various environments such as land, sea and air. Like many other units, the marine corps are adversely affected by the issue of drug and substance abuse (Drugs.indiana.edu, 2012). In a research conducted in 2010, drug abuse among service men appeared to be lower than in the general public. There are however worrying trends on the increase consumption of alcohol, tobacco and misuse of prescription drugs among members of the military forces.

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The Marine Corps undergo intense training that is tougher than the ordinary military training. They also operate in the challenging environment. In the last decade, the unit has been highly deployed in various areas in the war against terrorism (Ames, 2014). Service men are therefore faced with different challenges that affect them psychologically and socially (Drugs.indiana.edu, 2012). A study in the Marine Corps revealed that more than five percent of the soldiers sent to missions suffer from post-traumatic diseases (Stander et al., 2006). The result of these ailments is that the Corps begins abusing drugs and other substances to avoid thinking about their problem.

Difficult work conditions are not the only explanation to why the Marine Corps are abusing drugs. The separation from family members for an extended period during missions is also a significant factor that causes the condition. Service men and women spend a long time away from their loved ones and may be tempted to engage in drug abuse activities to console themselves (Ames, 2014). During the missions also, the soldiers lose friends and family that makes them withdrawn and more prone to drug abuse.

The military code is very clear on the issue of drug and substance abuse. All members of the forces are expected to maintain high levels of physical and mental health. Abusing drugs is, therefore, an offense (Stander et al., 2006). Although a majority of the members adhere to this code, the abuse of alcohol and tobacco which are not- prohibited substances is an issue of concern. The substances can adversely affect the mental health of a soldier. Since the unit is supposed to operate as a team having members who are under drug influence can pose a massive threat to their activities and even the life of the other team members.

The challenge facing leaders in the Marine Corps in handling the issue of drug abuse is the importance they attach to each member of the unit. The unit’s personnel are composed of the top candidates for army recruitment. It also has an elaborate training program that costs a lot of money. It is, therefore, important to have each member of the team healthy and fit to perform their tasks (Ames, 2014). The leaders of the unit face the challenge of dismissing service personnel who is found to be abusing drugs.

Drug abuse among the Marine Corps represents a critical issue of management of social responsibility ethics in a diverse workforce. The leaders of the unit have the duty of disciplining soldiers involved in drug abuse. The standard form of punishment is discharging them and instituting a criminal investigation. The issue involves protecting the interests of the unit as well as balancing on the resources invested in training marine corp. Leaders at the unit must make a decision on how to best deal with the issue. Their decision must reflect on the values of the group, as well as the code of conduct (Stander et al., 2006). The culture of the organization is also a key factor when handling an ethical issue. The military promotes comradeship and doing the best to assist a colleague.

To overcome this challenge the Marine Corps must put in place various strategies. The unit needs to discourage the undesirable behavior and promote the right culture. They can do this by setting up educative campaigns to inform the servicemen about the risks of unethical behavior such as drug and substance abuse. The unit can also try to mitigate the factors that promote the unethical behavior like providing counseling and support for those suffering from post-traumatic diseases (Stander et al., 2006). They could also encourage socialization at work to assist member’s share of their problems and support each other. The unit can also increase the number of rehabilitation centers and consider other forms of punishment to those found to engage in drug abuse to deter others.

Managing social responsibilities and ethical issues is often a difficult task. The challenge becomes even bigger when the workforce is diverse and faced with various challenges. Managers must attempt to understand the problem clearly to be able to solve it. To address social challenges requires a combined effort of the employees and the management. Ethics in an organization are rather subjective. In the creation of a standard code, all members of an organization should be involved to determine the right and wrong actions. All the parties must be made to understand the importance of ethical behavior. The Marine Corps require to work as a team to support each other and fight against drug and substance abuse.

  • Ames, G. (2014). Alcohol Use and Preventing Alcohol-Related Problems Among Young Adults in the Military. Pubs.niaaa.nih.gov. Retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh284/252-257.htm
  • Drugs.indiana.edu,. (2012). Military and Behavioral Health Problems: Substance Abuse and Problem Gambling. Retrieved from http://www.drugs.indiana.edu/drug-info/featured-articles/200-military-and-behavioral-health-problems-substance-abuse-and-problem-gambling
  • Stander, V., Reed, C., Olson, C., Johnson, J., Merrill, L., & Clapp, J. et al. (2006). MARINE CORPS DRUG PREVENTION REVIEW (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a433293.pdf