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NAVY DRUG SCREENING LABORATORY SAN DIEGO

Sentinel VOLUME 2, ISSUE 1 APRIL 2014

Ensuring warfighter readiness by deterring illegal drug use.

What’s Inside  CO’s Update  What is SYCAN?  Attention to Detail: Legal Support for SYCAN Positives  SYCAN Facts (A Hip Pocket Lesson)

Navy Drug Screening Laboratory (NAVDRUGLAB) San Diego 34425 Farenholt Ave, Building 26-2B, Suite 40 San Diego, CA 92134-7040 main: 619-532-7141 fax: 619-532-7337 email: ndslsd-scientificsupport@med.navy.mil NAVDRUGLAB San Diego CA provides forensic drug testing, expert testimony and consultation, education, and methods development.

Commanding Officer Cmdr. Lisa Kennemur Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Jamerson Public Affairs Officer Lt. Chris Coetzer The Sentinel is a quarterly publication issued by NAVDRUGLAB San Diego CA.

Did You Know? Prosecutors often call upon forensic chemists at NAVDRUGLAB SAN DIEGO CA to provide expert witness testimony in cases that involve a positive drug test (see page 3 for more details).


Volume 2 Issue 1 April 2014 Navy Drug Screening Laboratory San Diego

Sentinel CO’s Update

What is SYCAN? Greetings!

SYCAN is an acronym that stands for Synthetic Cannabinoid. It is used by the Department of Defense (DoD) drug testing laboratories for positive results from the illicit use of “fake” marijuana products such as Spice/K2/etc.

Thank you for your interest in the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory San Diego’s newsletter.

Cmdr. Lisa Kennemur Commanding Officer NDSL San Diego

In December 2013, as part of an ongoing effort to protect the health of Sailors and Marines, the Department of the Navy (DoN) began testing for synthetic cannabinoids during random urinalysis1.

As you will see, the majority of this newsletter edition is dedicated to discussing synthetic cannabinoids (SYCAN).

Synthetic cannabinoids were originally manufactured to mimic the effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive chemical in marijuana, with the intent being to use these compounds for pain management research. However, these compounds have since made their way into illicit drug products such as Spice that are sold as a “safe” alternative to marijuana.

The Department of Defense’s Drug Demand Reduction Program continues to be aggressive in identifying new threats and adjusting our testing panel to counter them. I am also excited to share with you that the command is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this year! NDSLSD was formally commissioned on June 8, 1984. Previously the command operated under an Officer in Charge and was attached to Naval Medical Center San Diego. The command is proud of its history, the work that we do and our contribution to the Department of the Navy’s readiness.

Military personnel who use Spice do so with the hope of getting high without detection by urinalysis. A positive urinalysis for THC is the result of the confirmed detection of one specific THC metabolite in urine. In contrast, a positive test for SYCAN is the result of the confirmed presence of one or more synthetic cannabinoids that are used in products such as Spice/K2/etc. Spice products vary in composition based upon the nature of the synthetic cannabinoids used to make a specific brand or batch.

Thank you for supporting the Navy’s drug reduction program, your work is equally important in our endeavor to keep our service members’ drug free.

The DoN expects to test more than 2.5 million specimens this year. A large portion of them will be screened for synthetic cannabinoids. Those specimens identified as presumptively-positive will be forwarded to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Special Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory (AFMES-SFTDTL) for final confirmation.

Newsletter Archive You can read back issues of the Sentinel online. http://issuu.com/ndsl-sandiego Scan the QR code with your smartphone to access our back issues.

Reference: 1

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http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=78476


Volume 2 Issue 1 April 2014 Navy Drug Screening Laboratory San Diego

Sentinel

Attention to Detail: Legal Support for SYCAN Positives “Prosecutors often call upon forensic chemists at NAVDRUGLAB SAN DIEGO CA to provide expert witness testimony in cases that involve a positive drug test.”

What to do if you need an Expert Witness for a SYCAN Positive:

Prosecutors often call upon forensic chemists at NAVDRUGLAB SAN DIEGO CA to provide expert witness testimony in cases that involve a positive drug test.

The testimony of our expert witnesses is considered integral in establishing the scientific and forensic veracity of the government’s evidence in the administrative processing or prosecution of illicit drug users.

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Our experts can only testify to drug testing procedures that occur at NAVDRUGLAB SAN DIEGO CA.

Request supporting documentation and an expert witness early. Make sure that your request for legal support is also sent to the laboratory responsible for confirmation of the positive drug test. Be prepared for delays as expert witnesses for SYCAN confirmation testing may be in short supply.

The contact information for AFMES-SFTDTL can be found at:

In the case of a synthetic cannabinoid (SYCAN); NAVDRUGLAB SAN DIEGO CA can provide expert witness testimony to support receipt, handling and initial screening of SYCAN positive specimens; additional expert witness support can be obtained from the confirmatory laboratory (i.e. AFMES-SFTDTL).

http://www.afmes.mil/index.cfm?pageid=forensic.overview

Our expert witnesses do not provide privileged consultation. They are available to answer questions to both the prosecution/Recorder and the defense in administrative separation boards or courts-martials.

All presumptively-positive SYCAN samples are sent to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Special Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory (AFMESSFTDTL) for final confirmation.

Questions? Reach our subject matter experts here: Navy Drug Screening Laboratory San Diego main: 619-532-7141 fax: 619-532-7337 email: ndslsd-scientificsupport@med.navy.mil

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Volume 2 Issue 1 April 2014 Navy Drug Screening Laboratory San Diego

Sentinel SYCAN Facts

FACT: All synthetic marijuana (Spice) is not the same. Synthetic marijuana is not a natural product like marijuana. Each batch is a unique blend of dried plant material and synthetic cannabinoid (SYCAN) additives that are responsible for their mind-altering effects. There is no standardized recipe for producing Spice. Synthetic cannabinoids can have varied effects on the brain and body. Synthetic marijuana is unregulated and can be anywhere from 10-1000 times stronger than street-grade marijuana. FACT: Synthetic marijuana is unsafe and effects can be life-threatening. There is no guarantee that the plant material used in synthetic marijuana is safe to eat. There are many plants that are toxic to humans. Users may experience the following with exposure to synthetic cannabinoids:     

rapid pulse and elevated blood pressure seizures, vomiting and abdominal pain hallucinations, paranoia and psychotic symptoms loss of consciousness (lasting from minutes to hours) suicidal thoughts, anxiety and aggression FACT: Synthetic marijuana is illegal. To evade federal and state regulations, synthetic marijuana is sold as plant food or incense and labeled as “not for human consumption”. Many synthetic cannabinoids found in Spice are listed as Schedule 1 chemicals. This means that these substances have no medical benefit and have a high abuse potential. Federal and DoD regulations make possession and use of these drugs illegal.

FACT: Drug abuse will cost you your military career and benefits. Navy Drug Screening Laboratories test every service member specimen for the presence of illegal drugs. Recently, the labs have added the screening for metabolites of synthetic marijuana to their routine test. DoD requires mandatory processing for separation of all members guilty of an incident of illicit drug use. Think About It

Considering the scientific facts above study, the following scenarios. Look for marijuana myths and answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper. Apply facts regarding the dangers present in each situation. 1. Three members of the flight deck crew are on a smoke break at night while underway. A friend gives them a spice cigarette and tells them it is all natural and undetectable by urinalysis. What are the risks involved for these three crew members? What arethe risks to the ship and her crew? 2. A young Marine, afraid of being caught in possession of Spice, decides to ingest the product in order to hide the evidence. What do the facts tell you about the dangers involved in this scenario? 3. A Sailor on leave in Colorado decides to smoke Spice since he believes it is just fake marijuana and that the effects would be similar to marijuana. What do the facts tell you about his choice?

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Sentinel Volume 2 Issue 1  

The Sentinel is a quarterly publication issued by Navy Drug Screening Laboratory San Diego. Click to read or download a copy now.

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