Drugs and Alcohol

Drug possession can be the basis for inadmissibility insofar as it relates to a crime relating to a controlled substance.

Use of drugs and alcohol can also be the basis for inadmissibility, but as a medical issue. This is especially poignant for individuals with arrests relating to alcohol misused (e.g. drink driving or violations committed whilst under the influence of alcohol).

In the United Kingdom, a medical examination by the Knightsbridge Doctors is required for any visa applicant a consular officer has reason to believe may be inadmissible for health reasons. The medical exam includes a full physical examination, as well as an interview as to use habits.

Interview with the Panel Physician

The Panel Physician is charged with determine whether use habits, notwithstanding current laboratory results, suggest a drug or alcohol problem. Individuals with a history of alcohol-related arrests should review the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST), which forms the basis for this interview:

The MAST Test

The MAST Test is a simple, self-scoring test that helps assess if you have a drinking problem.

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

1. Do you feel you are a normal drinker? ("normal" is defined as drinking as much or less than most other people)

___ Yes ___ No

2. Have you ever awakened the morning after drinking the night before and found that you could not remember a part of the evening?

___ Yes ___ No

3. Does any near relative or close friend ever worry or complain about your drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

4. Can you stop drinking without difficulty after one or two drinks?

___ Yes ___ No

5. Do you ever feel guilty about your drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

6. Have you ever attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

___ Yes ___ No

7. Have you ever gotten into physical fights when drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

8. Has drinking ever created problems between you and a near relative or close friend?

___ Yes ___ No

9. Has any family member or close friend gone to anyone for help about your drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

10. Have you ever lost friends because of your drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

11. Have you ever gotten into trouble at work because of drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

12. Have you ever lost a job because of drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

13. Have you ever neglected your obligations, family, or work for two or more days in a row because you were drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

14. Do you drink before noon fairly often?

___ Yes ___ No

15. Have you ever been told you have liver trouble, such as cirrhosis?

___ Yes ___ No

16. After heavy drinking, have you ever had delirium tremens (DTs), severe shaking, visual or auditory (hearing) hallucinations?

___ Yes ___ No

17. Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

18. Have you ever been hospitalized because of drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

19. Has your drinking ever resulted in your being hospitalized in a psychiatric ward?

___ Yes ___ No

20. Have you ever gone to any doctor, social worker, clergyman, or mental health clinic for help with any emotional problem in which drinking was part of the problem?

___ Yes ___ No

21. Have you been arrested more than once for driving under the influence of alcohol?

___ Yes ___ No

22. Have you ever been arrested, or detained by an official for a few hours, because of other behavior while drinking?

___ Yes ___ No

Scoring the MAST Test

Score one point if you answered "no" to the following questions: 1 or 4. Score one point if you answered "yes" to the following questions: 2, 3, 5 through 22.

A total score of six or more indicates hazardous drinking or alcohol dependence and further evaluation by a healthcare professional is recommended.

Do you think you may have a drinking problem? Take the online Alcohol Abuse Screening Quiz.

What about drug testing?

When a consular officer refers an individual for a medical examination, or in the case of all immigrant visa applicants, the exam is conducted by the panel physician under contract with the embassy. The exam includes a complete physical examination, as well as a discussion of use history and habits. Evidence of current misuse of drugs or alcohol will likely result in visa refusal.

Drug Testing

The basic drug test types and their approximate detection times are shown in the table below.

Source California NORML report on detection times: http://www.canorml.org/healthfacts/drugtestguide/drugtestdetection.html#utime