‘Spice’ and Other Synthetic Drugs Take Toll on Military

Synthetic drugs known as spice, K2 and bath salts, which mimic the effects of cocaine and marijuana, are a growing problem in the military, according to an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The drugs are increasingly being abused by military members who are trying to pass traditional drug tests, the article says. According to the newspaper, in the past year the Navy Region Hawaii Criminal Investigation Division has handled seven synthetic drug investigations in Hawaii involving at least 40 suspected users. The article says that the Air Force has recently become the first service to start randomly screening for designer drugs in urinalysis tests. All four branches of the military have banned the use of synthetic drugs, the newspaper reports.

In February, 16 sailors on the amphibious assault ship Bataan, based in Norfolk, VA, were discharged for using or dealing in spice.

In March, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who lead the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressing their concern about the effects of synthetic drugs on the military. Senator Grassley and eight cosponsors have introduced legislation to ban the chemicals used to make synthetic drugs.

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