SAN DIEGO - Sixty-plus Sailors from three commands have recently been investigated and identified as using the designer drug Spice. The use of synthetic drugs in the Navy, to include Spice, is illegal, and the Navy continues to aggressively investigate the use of synthetic drugs and hold those in violation accountable.

"The Navy's policy on drug abuse is simple and clear - zero tolerance," said VADM Gerald R. Beaman, Commander U.S. THIRD Fleet. "Drug abuse puts lives and missions at risk and undercuts unit readiness and morale. The use of synthetic drugs, to include Spice, is illegal and the Navy continues to aggressively investigate the use of synthetic drugs and hold those in violation accountable."

Eleven Sailors from USS San Francisco (SSN 711) and three Sailors from floating dry dock Arco (ARDM 5) received non-judicial punishment in the past month for using the designer drug Spice, and two others were found to have used other illegal drugs. Of those, six Sailors also admitted to cocaine use, and one was found to have used methamphetamines. All are being processed for separation in accordance with the Navy's zero tolerance policy. One additional Sailor from USS San Francisco continue to be investigated on a possible distribution charge.

Forty-nine Sailors have been identified from the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) connected to the sale, possession, or use of Spice. The alleged ring includes two distributors, one middle man, and 46 users. Of the 49 suspects, eight have been administratively separated for prior drug use identified via the command urinalysis program and three have already been separated for non-misconduct related reasons. While the investigation remains open, the two distributors and the middle man continue to be investigated for possible legal action, and the other identified Sailors remain subject to appropriate disciplinary action and administrative processing.

"Our Sailors must understand the dangers and consequences of using drugs -- substance abuse risks the lives of shipmates and erodes readiness," said Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "I need my Sailors to be ready for any tasking. Shipmates must watch out for shipmates and spread the word that this behavior is absolutely inconsistent with our Navy core values of honor, courage, and commitment. Abusers will be caught."

The Navy has a series of measures in place to educate Sailors about the perils of drug use and dependency; to deter them from ruining their professional careers and personal lives by choosing to use drugs; and an aggressive program to detect drugs in the unlikely event a Sailor decides to use them.

By holding Sailors accountable for drug abuse, the Navy better protects and retains the overwhelming majority of Sailors who conduct themselves honorably. The Navy continues to actively investigate suspected illicit and designer drug use and possession. If it is determined that additional Sailors have used drugs, those Sailors will be held accountable and if appropriate, processed for separation.

On March 1, 2011, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) exercised its emergency scheduling authority to control five chemicals used to make Spice and other "fake-pot" type products.