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Officials put a stop to Spice

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - The Air Force now has the capability to drug test for a range of designer synthetic-cannabinoid products known as Spice, using urinalysis. With the implementation of testing, officials intend to send a very clear message: use Spice, and you may lose your career, end up in jail or both.

The Air Force is concerned with deterrence of all illegal drug use and inappropriate use of other intoxicating substances to maintain the highest level of mission readiness; the Air Force has a zero-tolerance policy on drug abuse.

"The Air Force considers drug use to be incompatible with military service," said Capt. Bryant Bair, 36th Wing Judge Advocate Office chief of Adverse Actions.

Master Sgt. Ralph Oliver, 36 JA Law Office superintendent, echoed Captain Bair's remarks.

"Drug use puts other Airmen in danger especially when members come to work under the influence of drugs," he said. "Drug use also takes away from a unit's good order and discipline."

One of the most important reasons Airmen are restricted from using Spice is because of the potentially dangerous side effects it can cause; the manufacturing of it isn't closely controlled, and there can be unknown dangerous ingredients.

"With Spice, the user doesn't know what he or she is getting," Sergeant Oliver said. "The different chemicals that make up Spice can be mixed in a variety of ways that make it very dangerous and unpredictable. The user could buy from the same source and still get a different mix or blend without knowing. Spice can also become very addictive like other Schedule 1 substances."

To put it simply, military members are not allowed to use Spice at any time. 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.

Commanders have a plethora of options for addressing a violation that range from administrative action, nonjudicial punishment, to referral to a court-martial.

"Use of spice by a military member is potentially career ending," Captain Bair said. "The offense is punishable by Court martial under Article 112 and Article 92. Anytime a member is found to be using drugs a discharge recommendation must be made and in most cases results in a general discharge from the Air Force."

In 2010, 177 Airmen received nonjudicial punishment for using Spice and another 83 Airmen faced Spice charges at courts-martial.

Air Force Drug Testing Lab technicians will utilize the expertise of the Armed Forces Medical Examiners Systems to conduct the specialized testing.