Abuse of Illicit Drug Spice Forces Military to Discipline or Dismiss Hundreds
It’s one of the newest drugs of abuse on the market: a combination of cannabis-like synthetic chemicals sprayed on herbs and referred to generically as Spice. It may be sold with the names Spice or it may be called K2 or Red Devil Nugz. It’s often sold in convenience stores, sometimes near military bases. Maybe for some people the drug results in a pleasant experience but for others, it results in a psychotic episode that can last hours or days.
Like many club drugs, Spice is the result of chemists and drug dealers trying to stay ahead of law enforcement. By just changing a chemical formula a little bit, a substance can be sold to those looking to get high but be legal simply because it does not exactly meet the technical description of the drugs defined in state and federal law. Until legislation can catch up by outlawing a particular formula that gains popularity, some states can prosecute sellers and users with the Federal Analog Act. In other words, drugs that are essentially the same as illegal drugs can still be prosecuted under the same laws.
The military has long had a zero-tolerance to illicit drug use. It is generally the procedure to dismiss any airman, soldier or sailor that is caught using any illicit drug. In the case of Spice, it was a little more difficult at first, because there was no drug test for a long time after the product began to be found on ships and bases. But there is now. Still, most dismissals result from the drug being found in the possession of personnel.
The chemicals that have been banned don’t have names that would make sense to anyone but a chemist. For example, in March 2011, the following substances and several others were specifically made illegal in the US:
5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1ÊR,Ê3ÊS)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47,497 C8 homologue).
These ingredients are five to 200 times stronger than marijuana. The idea was to create a synthetic cannabis, one that would not show up on a drug test.
Drug Makes Some Users Dangerously Psychotic
Adverse effects of using Spice can include seizures, vomiting, extreme agitation and delusions resulting in irrational and dangerous behavior such as running down the middle of the street tearing one’s clothes off. Some people babble incoherently.
Delusional behavior resembles that of people on the drug PCP and in some cases, comes and goes from one minute to the next. It can last as long as eight days and in a few cases, seems to trigger a lasting schizophrenia.
More Than 1,100 Military Personnel Investigated in 2011
ust two years ago, there was little heard about this drug, but that all changed as negative effects of the drug began to be observed in military personnel. A story published on December 30, 2011 on the site www.navytimes.com reported that more than 1,100 troops and sailors had been investigated for Spice use in the prior year.
This report stated that 700 Marines were investigated and those found guilty were kicked out. The Air Force has punished 497 airmen in 2011, an increase over the 380 who were disciplined in 2010. It was not stated whether these personnel were dismissed or not. The Army stated that it had treated 119 soldiers for use of this drug but did not publish investigation or dismissal numbers.
Navy Has Been Most Aggressive in Fighting this Problem
Investigations on some of the Navy’s ships have resulted in scores of sailors being dismissed. Late in 2011, it was announced that twenty-eight sailors would be dismissed from the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and that 49 more from the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson were involved in a Spice supply ring and would also be dismissed. Other sailors on an attack submarine and floating dry dock were busted for use or possession of the drug.
The Air Force has begun screening for Spice along with screening for other illicit drugs. The Air Force, Navy and Marines have initiated anti-Spice campaigns to let personnel know that it is now an illegal drug and they can be dismissed if they are found possessing or using it.
Like other illicit drugs, Spice is addictive. Many people will require drug rehab to get free of the drug and return to a sober, responsible lifestyle again. At the Narconon drug rehabilitation centers around the world, individuals recover from addiction to new synthetics like Spice or the drugs that have been around for hundreds of years, like opium and alcohol. Once the problem is addiction, no matter what the substance is, Narconon has the answer with its long-term, residential program.
By helping each person detoxify the residual toxins left behind after drug abuse and by teaching each person drug-free decision-making skills, the Narconon program enables 70% of its graduates to achieve a lasting, sober life. If you care for someone who is struggling with addiction, find out how Narconon can help. Call 1-800-775-8750 today.
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