MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The human brain is wired to make a person repeat experiences that they enjoy. Unfortunately, 40-million Americans over the age of 12 abuse or are addicted to drugs, alcohol or nicotine. This is more than the number of Americans with cancer, diabetes and heart conditions.
Drug abuse occurs when a person takes legal or illegal substances in an unorthodox manner. In the case of prescribed medications, a person may take more than the dosage prescribed to them or use a family member or friend’s prescription to satisfy their enjoyment or dependence of the effect. Drugs are commonly misused to ease stress, feel good, or avoid the realities of life.
Drug abusers can however, change their unhealthy habits or stop using altogether. Usually drug abusers only use drugs for certain occasions in their lives, but once addicted, medical assistance is needed to treat the abuse.
“Drugs can impair your ability to do your job and be a Marine. The whole section from private and up will suffer the repercussions.” Said Staff Sgt. Phillip Williams, Substance Abuse Control Officer (SACO) from Head Quarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Recently a substance known as Salvia Divinorum (Salvia) and varieties of Spice have become concerns for Marine Corps Installations West, which spans throughout the Southwest. Salvia in particular is an herb that is known to cause hallucinations, changes in perception, body or object distortion and dizziness. In high doses, Salvia can cause unconsciousness and short-term memory loss. Spice, which are mixtures of medicinal herbs laced with synthetic substances, are known to cause decreased motor function, loss of concentration and impairment of short-term memory.
Common “street-names” for Salvia include but are not limited to; Magic Mint, Diviner’s Sage and Sally-D while Spice can be labeled; Genie, Red Dragon or Scale among additional names.
These disturbing trends have also prompted leaders on Camp Pendleton to issue a new base order (CAMPENO 5355.1) regarding Salvia and other substances that are not currently banned under the UCMJ or controlled substance act. As of December 27, 2018, Marines utilizing or distributing these drugs will be subject to punitive or adverse administrative actions. This new order will ensure the health, fitness, safety, and the ability to conduct the mission while protecting the welfare of all service members aboard Camp Pendleton.