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Synthetic Drugs Popular in the U.S. Military, Former Marine Claims

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A former Marine claims synthetic drugs are popular in the U.S. military, according to a segment of National Geographic’s “Inside: Secret America,” which airs tonight. The program follows him and a current Marine as they purchase bath salts in smoke shops in San Diego, according to ABC News.

The Defense Department banned the use of synthetic marijuana, or Spice, in 2010. In 2012, the U.S. military began a campaign to spread awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs. These drugs continue to be popular because they don’t show up on standard urine drug tests Marines are required to take, the story notes. Testing for synthetic drugs is difficult because there are hundreds of varieties. Manufacturers are constantly changing their formulas to get around regulations that ban the drugs.

In April of last year, the Navy began random testing for synthetic marijuana. The Navy also released a video that demonstrates the disturbing effects of bath salts. The video shows a sailor who snorts bath salts. Shortly afterwards he vomits, then starts having hallucinations. His girlfriend appears demonic to him, and he assaults her. He collapses and wakes up in restraints as he is brought to the hospital, clearly in distress.

“When people are using bath salts, they’re not their normal selves,” Lt. George Loeffler, a Psychiatry Resident at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, tells viewers. “They’re angrier. They’re erratic. They’re violent and they’re unpredictable…People will start seeing things that aren’t there, believing things that aren’t true.” Loeffler adds the effects of paranoia brought on by bath salts can last days or weeks after the drugs have left the body.

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