Air Force has taken steps to eliminate the use of synthetic drugs. Bath salts are made from components found in other drugs. The long-term effects of bath salts are unknown. Bath salt use is in violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Using bath salts qualifies as a violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: failure to follow a general order. Violation of this article carries a maximum penalty of a dishonorable discharge, two years confinement, reduction of grade, and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.(Courtesy photo)
by Senior Airman Michael Charles
Nellis Public Affairs
8/30/2011 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Home to the U. S. Air Force Warfare Center, Nellis Air Force Base has long been the heart and soul of advanced air combat aviation training. Airmen assigned to Nellis, Creech and the Nevada Test and Training Range are entrusted to play a major role in the operational testing of the most advanced aircraft and weapons systems; tactics development for warfighters around the globe; and advanced training to fly, fight, and win while utilizing the 2.9-million-acre NTTR.
Local mission demands, a high deployment tempo and the burden of doing more with less leave Airmen shouldering a large amount of stress. Each person copes with stress differently, and many have devised ways to relax and separate themselves from work while not on duty. Unfortunately, some of the coping methods Airmen use are not healthy or compatible with military service.
For more than a year, the Air Force has taken steps to eliminate the use of synthetic drugs, such as spice and salvia. Recently, bath salts have emerged as another dangerous drug that impacts Airmen and their ability to accomplish the mission.
Bath salts, not to be confused with the fragrance crystals people put into bath water, are psychoactive drugs with stimulant properties. Bath salts are made from components found in other drugs and are often referred to as Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky and White Rush. Bath salts can be smoked, snorted or injected directly into the user's blood stream and can cause hallucinations, panic attacks and psychosis.
"Seeing and hearing things are some of the drug symptoms," said Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Patterson, Nellis Mental Health Clinic substance abuse counselor. "Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more cases of the drug's use in the area."
Bath salts not only hinder a person's ability to accomplish work, but the drug also poses a threat to the user and those close to him or her.
"People who have used bath salts can be a danger to themselves and their community because of the extended period for which the drug takes effect," said Patterson. "We have experienced cases where an individual will harm himself extensively and not remember doing it or even feel the pain from it. If you can harm yourself and not feel anything, it is possible for you to hurt those around you as well."
The long-term effects of bath salts are unknown. What medical experts do know is that the drug causes the user to experience three to four hours of elevated heartbeat and shortness of breath, followed by six to eight hours of mild stimulation and intense, prolonged panic attacks. Use of the drug can also lead to sleep withdrawal and addiction.
Currently, the sales and distribution of bath salts are legal, but federal and state officials are working on legislation that will add bath salts to the banned-substance list.
Regardless of the drug's legal status in the civilian community, Installation members are prohibited from using bath salts or any other mind-altering drugs. In 2010, Maj. Gen. Stanley T. Kresge, former U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander, issued an order banning Installation service members from using such substances in any form. The Air Force followed suit with a service-wide ban on these types of substances soon after.
As a result of these bans, using bath salts qualifies as a violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: failure to follow a general order. Violation of this article carries a maximum penalty of a dishonorable discharge, two years confinement, reduction of grade, and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
The use of bath salts is not only a career-ending move, but it also puts lives and the mission at risk. For questions and more information regarding bath salts, call the Nellis Mental Health Clinic at 653-3880.