The following was released as a Flag Voice message from Assistant Commandant for Human Resources Rear Adm. Daniel Neptun.
On 30 January, I released ALCOAST 031/14 announcing that the Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, will begin testing all urinalysis samples for a spectrum of synthetic chemical compounds. The wrongful use, possessions of and/or distribution of synthetic cannabinoids and designer drugs are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
In spite of the Coast Guard’s zero tolerance for drug abuse, 38 members were discharged for Spice use in Fiscal Year 2012 and 32 discharged for Spice use in Fiscal Year 2013. Synthetic compounds have mind altering effects that can last for days an the long-term health effects are still unknown.
During July 2013, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Personnel Service Center and the Intelligence Coordination Center conducted a targeted urinalysis collection and testing operation to determine the prevalence of Spice and/or Bath Salts use in the Service, identify challenges in detecting and deterring their use and identify options available for testing Service members as part of the urinalysis program. Almost 1,200 samples were collected from 23 Coast Guard units representing afloat, ashore, training, Area and Headquarters commands; five samples tested positive for Spice or Bath Salts. While this represents a less than one percent positive urinalysis result of the tested population, information developed during follow-up CGIS investigations implicated several members involved in the use of other prohibited and illegal substances.
Drug abuse undermines the safety and long-term health of our members and jeopardizes mission performance. Unlawful drug use is a crime. Intentional use of Spice or Bath Salts is a violation of Article 112A of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the lawful general order issued by the Commandant in ALCOAST 551/13. Additionally, Spice and Bath Salt use could result in administrative separation or prosecution under the UCMJ.
D. A. Neptun, Rear Adm., U.S. Coast Guard
Assistant Commandant for Human Resources