One Marine Corps motto is to ‘Adapt, Improvise and Overcome.’ This should never include Marines, sailors and civilians on any base, under any command, attempting to beat the system and find new ways to get high.
However, this is the case for an alarming number of military personnel. Troops have been gradually introduced to psychotropic or psychoactive substances and have begun to possess, use and sell them on military installations across the nation.
Marine Corps Forces Command Order 5355.1 was issued Jan. 27 to combat the use, possession, distribution or selling of these substances.
The order is constantly being updated with the prohibition of new drugs. The list currently includes Salvia Divinorum and Salvinorin A, Mitragyna Speciosa Korth, Nymphaea Caerulea and the infamous Spice. More than five other mind or mood - altering substances can be inhaled or ingested to get similar effects in comparison to marijuana and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, more commonly known as LSD.
“Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5300.28D covers substance abuse prevention and control,” said retired Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Zamora, former Headquarters and Support Battalion substance abuse control officer, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “It is regarding that it’s unlawful for persons in the Department of the Navy to use any substance ‘with the intent to induce intoxication, excitement or stupefaction of the central nervous system.’”
According to the order, unlawful use by persons in the DoN of designer drugs, natural substances, chemicals, propellants and prescribed or over-the-counter drug or pharmaceutical compound; with the intent to induce intoxication, excitement or stupefaction of the central nervous system; is prohibited and will subject the violator to punitive action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, adverse administrative action or both.
These substances have also been given nicknames to aid with trafficking and discretion among service members and civilians who use them. Names like Spice Gold, Sally-D, Thang, Blue Water Lily, Morning Glory, and Moonflower as well as many others, have been used in reference to these drugs.
These substances, whether legal or not, can possibly have permanent effects after prolonged abuse.
“It wasn’t originally a drug, however any use of these substances is no doubt going to diminish combat readiness,” said Kent Graham, and drug and alcohol counselor. “[Users] will lose judgment, restraint and begin to act on impulse. I certainly wouldn’t want any [users] in a combat zone with a weapon and live rounds.”
The most infamous substance, Spice, is a mixture of herbs that are originally sold as incense in store fronts as well as over the Internet. Since it is smoked for its cannabis-like effects, it has become an increasingly popular and easily attainable, legal drug, although prohibited by the Marine Corps.
“Spice is a fairly popular designer drug in Europe,” said Graham. “It’s known as ‘fake pot’ due to its psychoactive ingredient, JWH 018.”
One synthetic cannabinoid, HU-210, was detected in the substances Spice Gold, Yucatan Fire and Genie. HU- 210 is controlled under the DEA Controlled Substances Act and treated like marijuana.
The majority of Spice packets provide a list of ingredients. Almost all packets clearly read “Not for human consumption,” as well, but still are sold with bongs, cigarette rolling papers and pipes. However, none of the packets inform the buyer that it contains JWH 018, which is a synthetic cannabinoid.
The Corps has a zero tolerance drug policy due to the fact that substances such as these can directly affect “good order and discipline, mission readiness, and the health of service members,” according to MFCO 5355.1.
“The responsibilities that we hang on the average 19-year-old Marine is like none other on the planet,” said Graham. “We need them as sharp as they can be, physically and mentally.”
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert O’Dwyer, officer in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division, MCB Camp Lejeune, said that certain chemical compounds within Spice have been listed as a Schedule I controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
As of Nov. 24, the Drug Enforcement Administration has listed five compounds in certain forms of Spice that are now considered Schedule I drugs. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for addiction, high risk for abuse and are not considered legitimate for medical use. These include mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide, heroin, and marijuana.
“The Marines are buying the stuff out in town,” said O’Dwyer. “We can’t enforce it out in town. For us, being in the Marine Corps, it’s transparent. We have to wait and see if the state or local law enforcement takes any proactive steps using the Schedule 1 [listings] as the backbone to see if they can actively enforce the sale of Spice as well. ”
Since Oct. 2010, O’Dwyer said a minimum of three to four Spice incidents a week are have been reported and only two known incidents of “Bath Salts.” These substances are designed to mimic the effects of cocaine, Viagra and amphetamine.
Nicknames for the cocaine, Viagra and amphetamine mimics are Bliss, C-Original, Charge Plus, Sextasy, MCAT, Drone and Meow-Meow.
“The risk with [bath salts] is that these new drugs are very high in caffeine,” said O’Dwyer. “If [a user] is taking prescription pain killers or other medications, it could have a negative synergistic effect.”
O’Dwyer added that there is still “legislation being weighed upon” by the N.C. General Assembly when they go into session this winter, which may place additional restrictions on the possession of spice and other analog drugs.
“Sometime on or after Jan. 24, the issue of spice and other synthetic cannabinoids will be addressed by the North Carolina General Assembly,” said ODwyer. “From there, we will see what [laws and regulations] will allow civilian law enforcement in the state to enforce it as well.”
Camp LeJeune Base Public Affairs
Story by Lance Cpl. Damany Coleman
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
Marine Corps bans Salvia, Kratom, Blue Lotus and Spice