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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – Navy medicine began a new fleetwide campaign against synthetic marijuana on Tuesday, on the heels of a recent bust that is expected to result in 64 sailors getting booted from the service for using the designer drug.

The information campaign includes a video and posters that will be distributed to Navy bases around the world, according to a news release.

The video concentrates on the potential negative effect of the drug, commonly referred to as Spice, as well as its unregulated nature.

Random batches of Spice can be mixed with completely different and very hazardous additives, according to the video.

“Spice causes elevated blood pressure, tremor, seizures, vomiting, abdominal pain and more,” according to Navy Medicine’s website. “Several reported episodes of heart damage have been reported with Spice use.”

The video and other information is available online.

Spice is illegal for servicemembers to use or distribute, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

On Oct. 20, the Navy announced that 64 sailors from the San-Diego based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, the USS San Francisco and the USS Arco would be separated from the Navy for Spice use and distribution.

The information campaign was planned months before the San Diego busts occurred, according to the news release.

Until recent years, Spice was considered a “legal high” and an alternative to marijuana in the United States.

As its popularity grew, states began passing laws banning the drug. In March, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration placed five chemical compounds commonly found in Spice on its Schedule I substances list of illegal narcotics, which it reserves for drugs with high abuse potential and no commonly accepted medicinal value.

Spice and other designer drugs are available at some overseas ports, in countries that either haven’t passed laws against their sale or do not enforce laws banning them.

Navy Medicine’s information campaign also targets synthetic cathinones sold as “bath salts.”

The fake bath salts are chemically similar to methamphetamine and were recently sold at convenience stores in the United States.

On Oct. 21, the DEA used its emergency powers to add the compounds in fake bath salts to its Schedule I substances list.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil

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