New Drugs causing same problems

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
For the baby boomer generation, marijuana and cocaine topped the drug chart, but with generation Z, or the internet generation, drugs aren't just drugs anymore. The new trend is smoking "potpourri" and "bath salts."

With new drugs constantly emerging, the Air Force's zero tolerance policy has to adapt to include the latest drug trends.

"A lot of times curiosity or the belief that the Airmen won't get caught is what leads them to experiment with drugs," said Capt. Lauren Shure, 23rd Wing Legal Office chief of military justice, "Alcohol seems to be a contributing factor in many of these cases."

Most people are familiar with the usual suspects-- marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines. But two new drugs are slowly hitting the scene. They are spice which is a synthetic cannabis sold as potpourri and bath salts which are powders often containing methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).

"I have heard of the drug spice but never using bath salts to get high. But it doesn't surprise me what new things people will try," Senior Airman Justin Kakuda, 23rd Comptroller Squadron customer service technician. "I think a lot of it has to do with peer pressure, most people are followers and are just doing what they think is cool."

No matter what reason an Airman gives when using or trying illegal substances, when caught there are always repercussions.

For seven months last year, spice was the number one drug used and led to 10 Moody Airmen receiving Articles 15 and being discharged.

"Punishment for a first offense really depends on the facts and the type of drugs that are used," said Captain Shure. "Drugs like spice and marijuana we typically see punishments like Articles 15 followed by being discharged. When harder stuff like cocaine and meth is used, Airmen are looking at a court-martial and possible confinement."

In May, a summary court-martial was convened and the accused, a member of the 824th Base Defense Squadron, was charged with, and found guilty of, wrongful use of marijuana. The accused was sentenced to a reduction to airman basic, forfeiture of $322 pay per month for three months and confinement for 30 days.

To enforce the zero tolerance policy Moody randomly tests for drugs on a daily basis of all active duty and civilian employees. The base also conducts gate sweeps at the request of the Wing Commander, Unit Sweeps at the request of unit commanders, as well as dorm sweeps at the request of commanders and first sergeants through urinalysis testing.

Since January, Moody's drug demand reduction has tested approximately 2,750 people with 0.35 percent of those have testing positive for some form of substance.

The DDR tests for a long list of drugs that includes the following: amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, opioids, phencyclidine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is found in marijuana and spice just to name a few.

Abusing substances alters judgment, perception and attention. It is illegal in the military. No matter the generation, the choice to put lives and military careers in jeopardy by misusing drugs is up to Airmen.