Navy investigates sailors for synthetic drug use - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Navy investigates sailors for synthetic drug use

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - More than 60 sailors from three San Diego-based commands are under investigation for using synthetic drugs, Navy officials announced Thursday.

Navy officials identified 49 sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson who sold, possessed or used a synthetic drug called "Spice."

The ring included 46 users, two distributors and one middle man, they said.

"The Navy's policy on drug abuse is simple and clear -- zero tolerance," said Vice Adm. Gerald R. Beaman, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet. "Drug abuse puts lives and missions at risk and undercuts unit readiness and morale."

Eight of the Carl Vinson sailors were discharged for prior drug use and three for non-misconduct reasons, while others remain subject to disciplinary action, Navy officials said. They said the investigation continues into the two suspected distributors and the middle man.

Ten sailors from the USS San Francisco and three from the floating dry dock Arco received non-judicial punishment over the past two weeks for using Spice, according to the Navy.

Of those, six sailors also admitted to cocaine use and one was found to have used methamphetamine. Two additional sailors from the USS San Francisco are still being investigated for possible distribution charges, officials said.

The Navy has in place a series of measures to educate sailors about drug use and dependency, as well as a program to detect drugs if a sailor uses them.

"Our sailors must understand the dangers and consequences of using drugs -- substance abuse risks the lives of shipmates and erodes readiness," said Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

"Shipmates must watch out for shipmates and spread the word that this behavior is absolutely inconsistent with our navy core values of honor, courage and commitment," Caldwell said. "Abusers will be caught."

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