Behind the cover: The Corps' new drug war


This week’s cover story is the latest in a Marine Corps Times series about an emerging drug commonly known as spice. The drug, marketed as a marijuana substitute, has steadily grown in popularity among Marines despite the Corps’ attempts to curb its use.

The inspiration for the story was the personal account of a father who said he almost lost his son, who is a Marine at Camp Pendleton, to spice. After one of our previous stories, the father wrote in saying that his son had been sick for months with symptoms that baffled family and doctors alike. The cause became clear when the father found a small bag of spice in his son’s luggage.

It turned out his son had been smoking spice for almost eight months after learning about it from another junior Marine. During that time he was diagnosed with gastritis, severe anxiety attacks and lost about 25 pounds.

Part of the reason for the drugs popularity, according to some experts is that it doesn’t register on current drug tests. But, emergency room doctors warn that spice can kill. The number of ER visits due to the drug has been on the rise over the last year or two. Some patients are so agitated they require multiple sedations and in worst-case scenarios some suffer seizures.

Read more about the drug, its dangers and the Marine Corps efforts to steer Marines away from spice in this weeks issue of Marine Corps Times, on newsstands now.

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