Sailors on a ship based in San Diego may have been involved in a synthetic drug ring, the US Navy said.
Navy officials are investigating nearly 50 sailors who allegedly sold, distributed and used the synthetic and illegal designer drug called Spice on the USS Carl Vinson, according to a statement from the Navy.
Two sailors allegedly distributed the drug with one middleman and 46 users. Of the 49 suspects on the USS Carl Vinson, eight have been administratively separated for prior drug use and three have been separated for other reasons.
The alleged distributors and middle man are still under investigation. The remaining 35 are subject to disciplinary action and administrative processing.
In addition to the San Diego-based sailors allegedly involved in the drug ring, 10 Sailors from the USS San Francisco and three Sailors from Arco, a floating dry dock, recieved non-judicial punishment for using Spice. Two others were found to have used other illegal drugs, a spokesperson with the Navy said.
“Substance abuse risks the lives of shipmates and erodes readiness," said Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in the statement.
Synthetic drugs such as Spice are known to be alternatives to marijuana but do not contain THC. The US Drug Enforcement Agency recently put a temporary ban on the drug in the US until more research can be conducted on it.The use of synthetic drugs in the Navy is illegal.
Members of the US Navy stated that they have seen an “alarming rise” in synthetic drug use among sailors, according to an article on Stars and Stripes.
They say they are taking a series of measures to reduce the use of drugs, including education on the peril of drugs such as Spice.