By: Shannon Bishop USAG Public Affairs
Increasingly, all over the U.S., more people are learning about the catastrophic effects of designer drugs. Designer drugs, despite what many believe, are not safe.
Designer drugs are created to mimic drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.
“[These drugs] are much more dangerous than marijuana,” said Brad Nielson, Army Substance Abuse Program manager.
Ingredients of designer drugs are not listed on the packaging, not only because some of them are potentially dangerous, but because some of the ingredients can actually get users in trouble with the law.
Local law enforcement has contacted all Frederick City businesses that sell synthetic drugs. According to Officer Sheena Maples, Drug Enforcement Unit, none of the local businesses are selling any of the five illegal cannabinoids.
“There is very little we can do on our level, but there are countless examples in the media that this stuff is bad. People think that because this stuff is legal, it’s safe. This stuff is being marketed making it clear that this stuff is not supposed to be ingested, but everyone knows what you are supposed to do with it,” Maples said. “We are working on a city ordinance that would make it illegal for the businesses in Frederick City to sell these designer drugs.”
According to resources available through ASAP, spice and bath salts come in a variety of packaging with a variety of names including G-Four, K2 and Mojo. One of the biggest dangers with the use of these designer drugs is that no batch is ever made the same. Designer drugs are made in makeshift laboratories with no hygiene or quality control. Variations, as well as mistakes in the production of these drugs can have deadly consequences.
Some side effects of designer drugs include, but are not limited to agitation, anxiety, paranoia, elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, tremors and seizures. There is very limited research on the effects of designer drugs because they are so new.
“People [on these drugs] are not aware of what they are doing. These drugs have led to suicidal, homicidal and very aggressive behavior,” said Sheri Schaefer, ASAP Prevention Services Manager.
Despite what many people believe, any kind of designer drug is illegal in the U.S. Army.
“[Designer drugs] are illegal in the U.S. Army and we can test for them, we are actively testing for them,” Nielson said. “Any Soldier with a positive drug test will be processed for separation. ASAP is about education and prevention, our job is not prosecution.”
For more information about ASAP, call 301-619-2120 or visit http://www.detrick.army.mil/asap/index.cfm.
“Any Soldier at any time can self refer,” Nielson said.
Civilians have access to the free and confidential Employee Assistance Program if they or a family member is struggling with a drug problem. For more information about the EAP contact the ASAP office.