Navy begins random testing for synthetic marijuana

Navy begins random testing for synthetic marijuana

Credit: U.S. Navy

120329-N-WP746-038 JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (March 29, 2012) The Criminal Investigative Division at Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, displays examples of seized evidences of synthetic drugs, commonly known as “Spice” as part of an awareness campaign and training against its usage. Spice looks similar to marijuana or oregano and is used for its psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects. Spice and other designer drugs are falsely marketed by manufacturers in commercial-like packaging as a safe way to get high while avoiding drug testing. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico/Released)

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by 13News Now & NNS

WVEC.com

Posted on December 31, 2013 at 2:35 PM

MILLINGTON (NNS) -- As part of a new Department of Defense policy, the Navy will begin testing for synthetic marijuana compounds during random urinalysis, officials announced Tuesday.

According to NAVADMIN 334/13, testing for synthetic marijuana compounds will be randomly conducted on samples submitted to all drug screening laboratories, and positive results will subject members to disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

"We are testing synthetic cannabinoids - also known as Spice, K2, Herbal Essence and other names - within the standard testing panel conducted for urinalysis samples," said Lanorfeia Parker, deputy director, Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office.

If a member uses, possesses, promotes, manufactures, or distributes synthetic drugs, they face disciplinary action that could result in unfavorable separation from the Navy. According to Parker, the Navy's policy on substance abuse is zero tolerance.

The Navy expects to test more than 1.1 million samples this year, and a portion of them will be screened for synthetic marijuana. Those that test potentially positive will be forwarded to the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory at Lackland, Texas for confirmation.

The change will be largely transparent to the command, requiring no changes to the way they currently collect and ship urine samples for drug testing. In contrast to the Navy's previous synthetic drug testing program, no action is required by the command to have random synthetic drug testing performed on the samples that are submitted.

The DoD estimates that nearly 1 percent of military personnel may be using synthetic marijuana. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, illicit marijuana use among active duty military personnel was 0.43 percent and for the entire DoD the prevalence rate was 0.64 percent. FY 2013 testing for Navy personnel indicated that .09 percent of all samples were positive for marijuana.

"Substance abuse puts lives and missions at risk, undercuts unit readiness and morale, and is inconsistent with our Navy ethos and core values of honor, courage, and commitment," said Parker.

Click here for more information about Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention.

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