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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Bath salts presents new substance abuse challenge

By Lance Cpl. Michelle S. Mattei | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | October 21, 2011

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Following the imposed ban of “spice,” service members are now being faced with another faux drug challenge.

A ban was recently enforced in December 2010 by Marine Corps Forces Pacific that prohibited the use of a synthetic drug known as “spice” and the hallucinogenic herb, salvia divinorum.

Now, a new drug which shows similar effects of cocaine or methamphetamines has evolved.

This new drug is sold as a form of “bath salt,” and is known by the names of ‘Ivory Wave,’ ‘Bliss, White Lightning,’ ‘Hurricane Charlie,’ ‘Vanilla Sky,’ ‘Charge,’ and ‘White Knight.’ These bath salts can be snorted, injected, ingested or smoked to achieve a euphoric-type high.

“Not much is known about this drug yet,” said Staff Sgt. Jamie Langiewicz, Headquarters and Support Battalion substance abuse counseling officer. “It’s still fairly new, so it’s really hard to say exactly what to look for.”

These new bath salts are commonly sold at local convenience stores and smoke shops, making purchase fairly easy. The packaging states “not for human consumption,” which allows it to be legally sold at these stores.

“Many of these substances are not illegal under federal or state laws and they are easily obtained,” stated Marine Administrative Message 579/10. “Legal or not, they are reported to have harmful physical effects similar to those produced by illegal or controlled substances.”

Some side effects produced from bath salt are rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, nausea, chills and sweating, extreme anxiety or agitation sometimes progressing to violence, confusion, psychotic delusions, and severe paranoia, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Abuse of these substances and others like them poses a significant danger to the health and safety of Marines and sailors; it also has great potential to affect the efficiency, discipline and good order of Marine units,” according to MARADMIN 579/10. “Despite their high risk of physical effects, being accessible and unregulated heightens the dangers associated with their abuse.”

Any violation or drug use can result in disciplinary action. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Marines and sailors can be punished for violation of the punitive general order under Article 92.

If a Marine is suspected or seen abusing illegal or synthetic substances, their chain of command or higher authorities should be notified immediately.

“Marines should police each other,” said Langiewicz. “If you see someone doing something they’re not supposed to be doing, you should report it directly to your chain of command.”

For more information or to ask about drug and alcohol abuse assistance, visit your unit SACO or call the Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center (CSACC) at 760-725-5538.

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