Spice users will be caught, punished
A Spice packet and a pipe used for smoking the illicit substance. Some Spice ingredients have been listed as Schedule 1 narcotics. (Air Force photo/MSgt Jeremiah Erickson)
Posted 12/10/2010 Updated 12/10/2010
Commentary by Army Brig. Gen. Raymond P. Palumbo
USARAK commanding general
12/10/2010 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- I am extremely proud of the work that each of you do in support USARAK's important mission. This goes from the most junior Soldiers in the command to our senior leaders.
Unfortunately, I've noticed a disturbing trend regarding the use of a substance commonly known as Spice.
This product, which has a variety of street names, is a mixture of herbs and spices sprayed with synthetic chemicals to mimic the effects of marijuana.
Over the last year we've seen an increase in the number of tragic incidents involving the use of Spice.
The chemicals used to make Spice are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration so there is little known about how it affects your health.
One thing for sure is we've seen an increase in the number of Soldiers admitted to the hospital after having used Spice - in some cases with life-threatening reactions.
Most commonly, reactions include a dramatic increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
We have no idea what the long-term effects are since the chemicals vary and have not been fully tested.But we do know that in the short term, bad things happen when people use Spice.
Arctic Warriors are better than this. We need to work together to immediately eradicate its use.
I'm doing my part and now I need you to do yours. Let's help each other by getting the word out that this product has no place in USARAK.
In August, I made the decision to prohibit the use, possession, and distribution of intoxicating substances.
This policy makes Spice illegal for all Soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Alaska.
Recently, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration declared five of the chemicals used to produce Spice as Schedule 1 Controlled Substances.
This is a category reserved for only the most dangerous category of drugs.
What does that mean for those who choose to use, possess or distribute Spice or its related intoxicating substances?
It means they may be found in violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Justice for disobeying a lawful order and Article 112a for using an illegal drug.
This could subject them to court-martial or other disciplinary action.
There is a common belief that the use of Spice can go undetected by Army urinalysis testing.
This is no longer true.
U.S. Army Alaska has agreements with civilian laboratories to test for the chemicals in Spice right now.
The Department of Defense drug testing laboratories will begin testing for this illegal substance in January.
The use of illegal, intoxicating substances is a violation of our Army Values, diminishes our ability to conduct our mission, and threatens the welfare of our Soldiers, Family members and civilian employees.
As I look around the command, I see great people doing wonderful things.
At the same time, the increase in the use of Spice and related products has given me cause for concern.
It should concern you too.
The use of Spice is not only dangerous, it's illegal. Please help me eliminate the use of Spice in USARAK.
It will only erode our Soldiers' health and ability to accomplish our important