WASHINGTON The Navy has produced a video and put it on YouTube to warn servicemembers about the dangers of synthetic marijuana.
Every military branch bans the use of spice, which is comprised of organic leaves coated with synthetic chemicals. Spice is marketed as a safe way to get high while avoiding detection during drug tests.
Officials emphasized in the video that both spice selling points are false.
'The damage these drugs do to your mind, body and career is permanent,' said Navy Rear Adm. Michael H. Anderson, medical officer to the Marine Corps. 'It's not legal. It's not healthy. It's not worth it.'
The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a decision in March making spice illegal nationwide for at least a year. According to the DEA's website, the agency took the action as an emergency measure in light of the alarming number of reports about spice-type substances it received from poison control centers, hospitals and law enforcement agencies.
Spice and other designer drugs also fall under Navy and Marine Corps zero tolerance policies.
Like other synthetic drugs including 'K2' and 'Blaze,' spice is developed using chemicals not intended for human consumption, the video notes. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate these substances, which means they aren't subject to oversight during the manufacturing process.
Little is known about the toxicology and safety of designer drugs, officials said. However, they noted side effects such as elevated heart rates and blood pressure, breathing problems, abdominal pain, seizures, extreme anxiety and other emotional problems.
In the most extreme situations, spice has been linked to heart attacks, psychosis and suicides, officials said.
To see the video, click here.