1/13/2012 – ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) — Spice use is on the rise, and Air Force officials are using methods such as drug testing, education and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice to put a stop to substance abuse.
While the Air Force has always had a zero-tolerance policy, as of Jan. 4, Guam officials have banned the substance as well under Public Law 31-164, now making salvia divinorum or salvinorum A and other synthetic cannabinoid products illegal.
“It is not surprising that spice has become a problem in the Air Force and on our installations,” said Staff Sgt. Dwight Schweiger, assigned to the 36th Security Forces Squadron. “Spice is a mixture of herbs and spices that is sprayed with a synthetic compound similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Spice is becoming more and more popular due in large part to its availability and low cost.”
Aside from the fact the substance is illegal, there are many reasons the military is against spice use.
“Spice has been associated with impaired driving incidents, attempted suicides, and emergency department visits and has been linked to such adverse effects as increased anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, respiratory complications, aggression, mood swings, altered perception and paranoia,” Sergeant Schweiger said.
Along with the negative effects on one’s body, using spice can also affect those around you and the mission.
“It is mind altering and changes people’s behavior,” said Capt. Craig Austin, the chief of military justice here. “With our jobs in the military others rely on us and the use of such substances can have effects on fellow Airmen or even national security depending on what you do.”
Another reason the drug is so dangerous is there is little regulation on the substance, and each manufacturer or even each batch can be different. And along with harmful side effects, it can also ruin your career.
“Using, possessing, or distributing the substance will end in some form of punishment,” Captain Austin said.
According to Sergeant Schweiger, some users may also get confinement, a discharge under other than honorable conditions or a dishonorable discharge. Some of the more severe punishments can also affect members after military life when it comes to employment and loss of education benefits. The high gained by using spice is temporary, but the effects of drug use in the military can last a lifetime.
(Courtesy of the 36th Wing Public Affairs Office)