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Air Force Expands Tests For Synthetic Pot

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If you're in the Air Force, and you're into "Spice," the synthetic substance that is said to mimic the effects of marijuana, you might want to rethink your usage. The service is expanding its efforts to  test whether airmen partake of the illicit chemical, according to Air Force Public Affairs

Spice is both a generic label and a brand name for a substance that is similar in chemical makeup and function to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The Air Force expressly prohibits its use, along with other designer synthetic drugs -- and, indeed, all intoxicating substances other than tobacco and alcohol. 

"While the Spice chemicals may mimic the effects of marijuana and have been termed a 'legal' high, a number of these chemicals have been banned by countries around the world, by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and by at least 40 states here in the U.S.," said Maj. Seth Deam, special counsel in the Air Force's Office of the Judge Advocate General.

The Air Force is conducting urinalysis tests of airmen for Spice through a civilian laboratory and plans to field an internal testing operation by the middle of this month. The service had 108 Spice-related courts-martial cases last year -- nearly a third of all of its drug-related courts-martials.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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