Synthetic drug testing catching Sailors
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The Navy’s urinalysis testing program for synthetic compounds has been underway for several months, and those who choose to violate the Navy’s policy against substance abuse are being held accountable.
Since testing began in March, 47 Pacific Fleet Sailors have tested positive for synthetic compound use. As of April, 10 of those cases have resulted in members being discharged.
A positive test result may initiate a criminal investigation and any resulting evidence from that investigation may be used by commanders to take disciplinary or adverse administrative actions.
“Urinalysis testing is one of several tools that commanders can use to deter the use of all synthetics -- Spice, bath salts, Salvia,” said John Croce, U.S. Pacific Fleet director of Quality of Life and Quality of Service Programs. “We also emphasize more frequent barracks inspections, more intrusive leadership, bystander intervention, as well as education and awareness of both the career implications and health risks associated with synthetic drug use.”
Teaching Sailors about the possible side effects of some of those drugs is a great deterrent.
There can be immediate career implications as well. Health, safety, and security actions that can be taken following a positive urinalysis result for synthetic compounds include revocation of security clearance or loss of flight status.
“Sailors need to understand if they choose to use illegal drugs, we will catch them and remove them from our winning team. Everything they worked so hard to accomplish will be lost,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief John Minyard. “We will continue to educate our Sailors on the harmful effects of using this drug, but I would hope that our Sailors would feel a stronger commitment to themselves, family and shipmates and not even go down this road.”
“The word is getting out and Sailors are seeing that they are being held accountable. People are being discharged for it and they’re learning more about the bad stuff that can happen to them as a result,” Croce said.