Features / Japan / Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni / News Stories

Marine Corps substance abuse policy clear, cut, dry

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan  — “It’s clear, cut and dry,” said Terrence J. Riley, substance abuse control officer here. “If you are a member of the United States military, the use of illegal substances is strictly prohibited. Period.”
In order to prevent issues of substance abuse among Marine Corps bases around the world, the Marine Corps has put forth an ongoing effort to enforce a zero-tolerance drug policy. Marine Corps Order 1700.24B, implemented in 2001, boldly states the Marine Corps will not tolerate the possession, use, trafficking, or distribution of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. According to the order, these offenses must be dealt with swiftly and effectively to the fullest extent provided for by military laws and regulations.If there was ambiguity about the abuse, possession or sale of a legal substance before, it was clarified in the Marine Corps Bases Japan Order 5355.1, which was implemented Sept. 10, 2008 and strictly prohibited the abuse, possession and distribution of certain legally obtainable substances as well as illegal ones.At that time, substances such as Spice or spice-like substances were not controlled by the United States or Japanese government; therefore, new laws and orders were implemented in late 2009 to clarify and enforce regulations targeting such substances that could be abused throughout the entire U.S. military.

After the Japanese government made it illegal to buy and sell Spice, a synthetic form of cannabis, the Marine Corps Forces Pacific introduced MarForPac Order 5353.2 on Dec. 1.

Among the substances listed in the enclosure were Salvia Divinorum, Mitragyna Speciosa Korth, Spice, Blue Lotus, Convolvulaceae Argyreia Nervosa, Lysergic Acid Amide, Amanitas Mushrooms, Datura, Absinthe and 5-Meo-DMT.

According to the order, Marines are prohibited from actual or even attempted possession, use, sale distribution or manufacture of any derivative, analogue or variant of those substances.

The bottom line is that the possession, use, trafficking or distribution of any legal or illegal form of substance used with the intent of altering the human state of consciousness in such a way that endangers one’s life or the lives of others is not tolerated among the Marine Corps and will lead to administrative consequences.

According to Terrence H. Guishard, a special agent with Naval Criminal Investigation Service Resident Agency here, time in Japanese prison is a likely sentence if service members or civilians are arrested off base for a drug offense.

“First, the Japanese will decide if they want the investigation or not,” said Guishard. “If they do decide they want it, then they will conduct their investigation and submit it to the prosecutor. The prosecutor will determine what type of sentence they will get,” Guishard added.

Service members who are caught abusing substances will be charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and ultimately separated from the military.

MCO 1700.24B states that Marines confirmed for illegal drug involvement shall be processed for administrative separation.

“If you’re huffing paint or abusing any kind of substance, you’re supposed to go to an administration separation board,” said Carlos Campos, a special agent with NCIS here.

Service members will also risk a court marshal, which could result in more severe punishment.

“If we find out about it and we open an investigation, they can be prosecuted for it,” said Campos.

Service members can be charged with Article 112a – wrongful use, possession, etc., of a controlled substance in addition with Article 92 – failure to obey lawful order.

If they try to lie about it, they can be charged with Article 107 – false official statement.

A group of service members who are found to be abusing or possessing controlled or non-controlled substances are subject to Article 81 – conspiracy.

“It really affects the command when you get one person introducing it and spreading it to everyone,” said Campos.

Personnel involved or who know about an abuse and do not report the incident can also be charged.

All service members hold the responsibility to report any incidents relating to legal or illegal substance abuse in order to ensure the effectiveness and readiness of the Marine Corps.

For more information, contact NCIS by calling 253-5589. To place an anonymous tip about substance abuse related incidents, call 253-3318.

Originally published: Marines.mil

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