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NEWS | Nov. 1, 2011

Using bath salts to get high – just as risky as smoking Spice

By Capt. Sarah Hadacek 628th Air Base Wing Staff Judge Advocate's office

By now, the entire Joint Base Charleston community should understand that using Spice is illegal for Airmen and Sailors. Not only have units briefed their members about the criminality of using, possessing or distributing Spice, but the Air Force has even prosecuted members caught smoking Spice. Within the last three months, five Airmen at Joint Base Charleston have received federal convictions for using Spice.

What you might not know is that it is also illegal for Airmen and Sailors to ingest bath salts for the purpose of getting high. Believe it or not, people actually eat this stuff which contains a combination of mephedrone, methylone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, to get a buzz. When they do, they are not only violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but many users are also finding themselves in the hospital. That's because these bath salts are in reality a synthetic drug that mimics the effects of methamphetamine, including paranoia and a rapid heart rate.

Until recently, Airmen and Sailors could find bath salts, along with Spice, next to the bubble gum at local convenience stores. However, as of Oct. 24, Spice and bath salts were banned by South Carolina's Board of Health and Environmental Control. This state ban on bath salts and Spice came as a result of the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency placing the substances commonly found in bath salts and Spice in the same category as heroin and cocaine. Not only can Airmen and Sailors get in trouble for possessing these substances, but now, so can their civilian dependents.

Don't let the fact that you may still see Spice and bath salts in local tobacco stores and gas stations fool you into thinking these substances are legal. Local law enforcement agencies have already began cracking down and will eventually catch up with all stores selling these items. So, when you ask yourself, "Is ingesting bath salts a safe alternative to smoking Spice?" Please know that the answer is clearly no. Any Airman caught using illegal drugs, such as Spice or bath salts is subject to at least a General Discharge which means he or she will no longer be eligible for the GI Bill. Any Sailor caught using illegal drugs is also subject to non-judicial punishment followed by an administrative separation for drug abuse. In the Navy, drug abuse is a mandatory processing.

Bottom line, by smoking bath salts or Spice, you not only risk losing your job and possibly landing in jail, you also subject yourself to the possibility of serious injury.