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Eight percent of IDF recruits have drug-related criminal records, and only one out of four of them are inducted, a high-ranking officer in IDF Human Resources said Sunday.
The IDF launched drug and alcohol awareness week Sunday. Officers from the Military Police and Human Resources and officials from the Israeli Anti-drug Authority will talk with soldiers about the risks of alcohol and drug use.
Over the past decade, the officer said, the IDF has encountered a sharp increase in recruits with criminal records and the number of criminal cases opened by the Military Police against soldiers. One soldier, a noncommissioned officer, was recently sentenced to four years in prison for drug dealing.
According to Israel Police statistics, 5,196 drug cases were opened against minors in 2005, up from 1,793 in 1996. The Military Police opened hundreds of cases this past year against soldiers caught using or dealing drugs. The IDF refused to divulge the exact number, but said it was up 10% from last year.
"Military service does not go together with drug use," the officer said. "It impairs the ability to perform your duties... and soldiers need to be made aware of the risks involved."