SF 85p Suitability Question

Looking for some advice or general thoughts about my situation

I’m in my late 20s, recently returned Peace Corps Volunteer and moving through the process for obtaining medium risk public trust position with Department of Education. I submitted my SF 85P and was as honest as I could be, but had a few concerns about how I answered things.

Since my early 20s, I’ve used drugs: once or twice a month during sophomore year, then once a month junior/senior year; after graduating, used even less maybe once every two or three months. During Peace Corps, I did use it and disclosed it as once every few months, with my most recent usage being about 5 months ago just before I returned. I never bought/sold it, just used it in social situations/parties. I have realized those were poor decisions and mentioned I’ve stopped spending time with those people, especially those in college, and have not put myself in those situations. I also said I will not be using in the future and am willing to sign such a statement. Should I also mention a willingness to undergo drug testing?

I’m also concerned about a job I had about 3 years ago while traveling and working in New Zealand. I did not keep in contact with them or my coworkers, and do not have much information besides the address. There were no issues with my time with them just never spent much time with them outside of work and didn’t become friends with them, and it’s been so long that I lost my contact information with them. I told them this but I’m worried this will reflect poorly on me.

Are my chances basically gone because of these problems?

read questions in section 21 a and b. You have to be clean at least one year and cannot have illegally purchased drugs in the last seven years.

I can never understand why people indulge in using illegal drugs considering all the pain and suffering they cause.

OP didn’t say what drugs and plenty of drugs are illegal that don’t cause “pain and suffering.” No one ever thinks they’ll be in a position where it actually matters which is why most don’t care.

I think that you are going to have a problem. Recent drug use and applying for a job at the DoE? Plus you are in your late 20’s which means that you are past the age of “youthful indiscretion”. Your admitted use was “every few months” and now after just a few months since your last use, you say it was a mistake and wont being using any more. It’s not going to fly.

Concur mostly with above. Definitely the 12 month minimum is the rule for a clearance. If yours is for a position of trust…they may use a lower standard. Ed is correct on the “youthful indiscretion” portion. My experience shows a wide pass up to age 24. Normal college years, 18 to 24. After that one fully knows what is and is not legal. You can argue the morality of drugs all day long but the black and white legal standard is 12 months. Since drugs are not free, but frequently shared, I don’t think one needs not having bought drugs for the full 7 years. It would be a non sequiter to assume you only grow your own. You get the drugs somehow in a commercial transaction. Though I imagine some do only use what they grow or create themselves. Removing the users and sellers from your life, even if close friends is a solid mitigation. But time is still required for clearance…I do not process positions of trust so I am unclear on their standard but feel confident it is roughly the same at 12 months. Drugs and college seem to go hand in hand, education degrees in particular seem to have a high percentage of use in my unscientific observations. But as more and more misconduct is revealed between teachers and minor kids you can bet the standards and background checks will be more stringent.