NORFOLK (Jan. 25, 2011) - Navy leaders are expressing alarm at recent statistics that show that sailors' use of "Spice" and similar so-called designer drugs rose in the last quarter of 2010. Spice and similar products are essentially an herbal, synthetic form of marijuana, mimicking the chemical compounds found in the drug. These products are banned for Navy personnel.

"The number of incidents of designer drug usage is rising at an alarming rate in our Navy. In the last four months alone, 79 of our Fleet Forces Sailors and 72 Pacific Fleet Sailors have been accused of using or possession of the drug. That's 151 Sailors that if found guilty will be administratively separated from our Navy," said Adm. John C. Harvey, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Harvey believes it's everyone's responsibility to deal with what could be a dangerous trend.

"I need each and every one of our sailors looking out for each other," Harvey explained. "Talk to your shipmates about Spice and make sure they understand the dangers and serious consequences involved with its use."

In response to the rising concerns of the military over Spice and similar products, the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board of Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina placed 10 businesses in Hampton Roads off-limits to service members in November.

Since the release of Naval Administration Message (NAVADMIN) 108/10 in March 2010, which reemphasized the Navy's drug policy, the U.S. Navy has been proactively campaigning to reduce the number of incidents related to the use of synthetic marijuana.

"Our Navy has zero tolerance for drug use. If you are considering using Spice or a similar drug, I strongly urge you to reconsider," Harvey said. "If you are caught using it, even once, you will be separated from the Navy. There is no second chance."

Navy personnel determined to be unlawfully using, possessing, promoting, manufacturing or distributing drugs and/or drug abuse paraphernalia shall be disciplined, as appropriate and processed for administrative separation, according to Navy regulations.

In the Navy, drug abuse includes: the wrongful use, possession, manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance. Drug abuse also includes: the unlawful use of controlled substance analogues (designer drugs), natural substances (e.g., fungi, excretions), chemicals (e.g., chemicals wrongfully used as inhalants), propellants and/or prescribed or over-the-counter drugs or pharmaceutical compounds with the intent to induce intoxication, excitement or stupefaction of the central nervous system and will subject the violator to punitive action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and/or adverse administrative action. Examples of other substances, the wrongful use of which constitutes drug abuse, includes, but is not limited to the following: Products that contain synthetic cannabinoid compounds, such as Spice, Genie, Blaze, Dream, Ex-Ses, Spark, Fusion, Dark Knight, Yukatan Fire and K2. Natural substances such as Salvia divinorum and mushrooms. Common items abused by inhaling or huffing, such as Dust-Off, glue, paint thinner and gasoline. Over-the-counter products such as Robitussin and Coricidin HBP. Prescription medications such as Oxycodone, Vicodin, Adderal and Valium.