Navy Battles "Spice" Scourge

By McCarton Ackerman 01/06/12

The US Navy launches a substance abuse prevention campaign as sailors' use of synthetic marijuana surges.

A broadside against "spice" Photo via

In the wake of several recent drug busts of Navy personnel, the Navy announced a new service-wide substance abuse prevention campaign Wednesday. Entitled “Who Will Stand Your Watch?”, it aims to show sailors the negative effects of substance abuse, particularly how it might affect their loved ones. The PSA spots show actual sailors in the workplace and highlight the importance of their work and presence. “Substance abuse puts lives and missions at risk, and undercuts unit readiness and morale. Preventing substance abuse rather than dealing with the consequences benefits everyone,” says Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Director Dorice Favorite. According to the Navy, the use of the synthetic marijuana-mimicking drug known as “spice” is a growing problem. Last February, 16 carrier crew members were discharged for dealing or using spice, while a further 64 sailors were busted for the same reason last October. Yet another 28 sailors were caught in another spice sting in November. The DEA declared an emergency ban on spice last March, but hundreds of new variants of the drug have surfaced since then.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.