A Marine Administrative Message signed by Brig. Gen. R. F. Hedelund, director of Marine and Family Programs Division, announced a change in urinalysis testing for synthetic chemical compounds such as Spice.
Urinalysis testing for synthetic compounds is separate and distinct from the urinalysis program all specimens are subjected to in the search of service members who may abuse illicit or prescription drugs. Testing will now commence using the model currently in place for steroid testing.
Under the new protocol, there is no longer a requirement for samples to be attached to an active investigation, which the current protocol requires.
Commanders, commanding officers, officers-in-charge, or their designated representative will obtain authorization and quotas for testing from Headquarters Marine Corps substance abuse section prior to collection of a synthetic compound urine sample, just as required for steroid sample collection. Samples will be collected using current urinalysis procedures, except that samples will only be shipped to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Samples submitted without prior authorization from HQMC substance abuse section will not be tested.
Criminal Investigation Division and commands will be notified of positive samples. For each positive sample, CID will open an investigation. The command may take appropriate actions related to health, safety, and security based on positive results. Commanders may conduct further inquiry if misconduct is suspected.
“I want to make it clear though that Spice is not a problem solely for the military; it is a problem for everyone,” said Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. “The military represents a microcosm of a much larger population, and in many ways, strives to be a reflection of the society it serves, so we share many of the same health and safety issues as the general population. We have chosen to focus our communication and legal efforts on this specific issue for two simple reasons; these drugs endanger the health and well-being of our people and they affect military readiness.”