Spice harms health, career|
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/25/2011 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Spice -- it is not a salt, pepper, cinnamon or garlic; however it may cause harmful side effects on one's health or derail a military career.
Air Force officials recently updated Air Force Instruction 44-120 Military Drug Demand Reduction Program and issued an updated guidance memorandum for AFI 44-121 Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program. Military members are not allowed to use Spice at any time. Doing so is not only a failure to follow orders; it is now a violation of federal and military law.
"Spice refers to a group of herbal incense products from a variety of plants that are intentionally adulterated with synthetic cannabinoids, which are similar to chemicals found in marijuana but distinct in their chemical, physical and psychotrophic properties when compared with chemicals found in Salvia divinorum," said George Smith, Drug Demand Reduction drug testing manager. "Spice-type cannabinoids and salvia are both on the Drug Enforcement Agency diversion control list."
The adverse effects of Spice are similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the substance in marijuana that affects the central nervous system, and can be much more intense. Effects can include paranoia, panic attacks, and giddiness. Other side effects include hallucinations, delusions, vomiting, and increased agitation.
On March 1, the Drug Enforcement Agency used its emergency enforcement authority to temporarily add five chemicals commonly used in spice to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
Following this action, U.S. Air force members found to have used, possessed, distributed or manufactured one of these five controlled substances can be charged with drug abuse under Article 112a, Uniform Code of Military Justice. Airmen court-martialed under this article face dishonorable discharge, confinement for five years or more and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances. Enlisted members also face reduction to the lowest enlisted grade.
The modification of AFI 44-120 was made to provide a standard and enable commanders to address misuse of intoxicating substances.
The Air Force now has the capability to drug test for spice. With the implementation of testing, officials intend to send a very clear message: Airmen using spice may lose their career, end up in jail or both, officials said.
"Testing can be accomplished through urinalysis," Mr. Smith said. "At present, spice testing will be accomplished by specifically testing for the chemicals identified as being in Spice."
Individuals who violate the new policy are liable for having disobeyed a lawful general order or regulation, which is a violation of Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice. If the commander refers the case to a general court-martial, the maximum punishment is a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for two years. Nonetheless, a commander has the entire range of options for addressing a violation to include administrative action, nonjudicial punishment and referral to a court-martial.
(Some information courtesy of Master Sgt. Amaani Lyle, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)