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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Military Fight Against Synthetic Drugs

Over the last few years synthetic drugs have become popular amongst teenagers and young adults across the country. Despite efforts to ban ingredients for the manufacture and on the sale of synthetic marijuana and “bath salts,” the makers of such drugs have managed to find loopholes which have kept these dangerous drugs on the market.

Standard drug testing methods are unable to detect most synthetic drugs, this adds to the drug’s allure. A number of service men and women have turned to synthetic drugs as an alternative to traditional drugs that are easily detected in drug screens. Fortunately, education campaigns and improved drug testing methods are having an effect, the Navy and Marine Corps have seen a drop in synthetic drug use, The Navy Times reports.

The Defense Department's efforts to combat synthetic drugs began in 2010, the article notes. The banning of compounds to make the drug and the development of testing methods that detect synthetic drugs were the first steps; followed by a synthetic drugs awareness campaign in 2012.

The Navy and Marine Corps report a 45 percent decrease in the monthly average of those found using Spice (synthetic marijuana) and a 60 percent decrease in those using bath salts.

Synthetic drugs are hard to combat due to the ever-changing ingredients used to make them, according to Terrence Boos, a chemist with the Drug Enforcement Administration. “The evolution of these drugs is providing a challenge for toxicology screens,” he said. “When someone is presenting at an emergency department, they are presenting with an unknown drug in their system.”

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