Army

May 17, 2012

Spice, ‘bath salts’ prohibited in Army

By Caroline Keyser
Warrior editor

The Army’s not compromising when it comes to Spice and other synthetic drugs.

Spice — also known by names such as K2, Spice Gold, Bliss, and Solar Flare — is a synthetic drug made by spraying a manmade version of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, onto dried herbs.  The last several years have seen a spike in its use across the country, including among military members.  It has often been sold in smoke shops, liquor stores and on websites in prepackaged bags marketed as legal substances such as incense or potpourri.  The ingredients in Spice can cause a variety of side effects, including convulsion, anxiety attacks, racing heart rates, and seizures.

In response to this growing threat to the Army’s readiness, Secretary of the Army John McHugh issued a memo prohibiting the use of Spice and other synthetic cannabinoids in February 2011, building on previous command-level injunctions against the drug.  Spice is now prohibited across the military.

“These regulations are for the safety of Soldiers and family members,” said Ronney Hester, Fort Irwin’s Army Substance Abuse Program manager.  “These substances are dangerous and not regulated.”

In March 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration banned all “fake pot” drugs, including Spice.

“Young people are being harmed when they smoke these dangerous ‘fake pot’ products and wrongly equate the products’ ‘legal’ retail availability with being ‘safe’,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart in a press release.

Another class of synthetic drugs, those containing a chemical called mephedrone that is touted as a cocaine substitute, are also banned by the military and DEA.  One of the most popular of these drugs, referred to as bath salts, can cause extreme paranoia, recurring suicidal tendencies, and kidney problems.  Reports have been made of people under the influence of bath salts experiencing delusions so extreme that they have leapt into traffic and attempt to scratch off their own skin.  Bath salts are often sold in jars or vials labeled “not for human consumption” in an attempt to thwart authorities.

Soldiers found to be in possession of or having used Spice, bath salts, or other drugs—including prescription drugs for which they do not have a current prescription— will be subject to action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  A Soldier’s chain of command can order specific testing for Spice and bath salts.

“These are definitely not substances you want to be taking,” Hester said.

For more information about Spice, bath salts, or the Army’s drug policy, call Fort Irwin ASAP at 380-1366 or visit http://acsap.army.mil.




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