The Military is taking a serious approach to Spice or synthetic cannaboid use in 2012. The Pentagon recently released figures to the Associated Press that showed in 2011, 497 airmen were punished for spice use, 700 Marines and sailors were investigated for spice use and 119 soldiers received medical treatment after smoking it.
The Air Force led the way with the first announcement of confirmed spice testing. Following is a summary and links to each military branch and their stance on Spice testing.
The Air Force first announced in February, 2012 that they will begin testing for Spice, AF using urine tests to detect ‘spice’ use
The Air Force announced in March, 2012 that it will begin testing for spice with its own equipment. In 2011, they outsourced the testing to a civilian lab, but started in March, 2012 they will do their own tests and they said “We have the capability to test 2,900 specimens per month.” According to an article in Air Force Times
Navy posted its Synthetic Drug Urinalysis Operating Guide online on April 4, 2012. In an article on the Navy official website, this quote sums up their position on Spice testing and their seriousness:
“In March 2012, the Navy announced that it has begun random testing of urine samples for synthetic chemical compounds like Spice. The Navy’s capacity for testing for designer drugs will continue to expand. During fiscal year 2012 the Navy will invest $1.73 million to test for synthetic chemical compounds and expects to increase that amount to $2.9 million in fiscal year 2013.”
Marines could face testing for spice as of March, 2012, they had not instituted testing of Marines, but said they are “working with researchers to develop urinalysis that can detect spice and similar illegal substances known as synthetic cannabinoids”. The article did not state why the Marines could not use the technology already developed by the Air Force who started testing the earliest of all the military branches.
The Army is funding a study by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner to determine spice use in the military and has allocated $180,000 to find out how widespread the use is. The Study Underway to Assess Usage Rate of Synthetic Cannabinoids will “involve testing 10,000 randomly collected Army specimens – 5,000 each from the Tripler Army Medical Center, HI and Fort Meade, MD”, but it does not clearly say if the specimens will still have the name associated with it or if it is anonymous. There is not current data stating that the Army is doing synthetic cannabinoid testing.
Earlier this year, the Coast Guard Academy expelled 14 cadets for spice use, see Coast Guard Academy weeds out cadets, however, the report did not say if they were found with random testing or some other method. Considering that the Coast Guard is responsible for enforcing the maritime drug laws, you should assume that they will follow suit with the Air Force or Navy, however, there is no reports that they are currently random testing for spice.
All the Armed Forces have started 2012 with a serious commitment to synthetic drug testing and making sure that they have the technology in-house to keep up with the ever changing compounds that make up spice and synthetic cannabinoids. We can only expect for them to continually increase the random testing and their disciplinary approach to spice.