6/17/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials issued guidance banning the knowing use and possession of any substance, other than alcohol or tobacco, that is ingested to alter mood or function.
On June 8, the Air Force published an Air Force guidance memorandum revising Air Force Instruction 44-121, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program, said Lt. Col. Elizabeth L. Schuchs-Gopaul, a judge advocate with the Air Force Judge Advocate General Action Group.
The revised language makes punitive the prohibition in the current Air Force Instruction regarding the ingestion of any substance, other than alcohol or tobacco, for the purpose of altering mood or function. The possession of any intoxicating substance, if done with the intent to use in a manner that would alter mood or function, is also prohibited, she said.
The guidance cited the designer drug "spice," salvia divinorum, inhalants, household chemicals, solvents and prescription drug abuse.
Colonel Schuchs-Gopaul said the new AFI provisions are punitive. Violators will be punishable as violations of a lawful general regulation under Article 92 of the UCMJ.
"This revision is an addition to the already existing tools used by commanders to address the abuse of otherwise lawful substances such as salvia, inhalants, propellants, solvents, household chemicals, and others substances used for 'huffing,'" Colonel Schuchs-Gopaul said.
Violating this new punitive memorandum is punishable by a dishonorable discharge, confinement for two years, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, the colonel said. Enlisted members also face reduction to the lowest enlisted grade.
10/7/2010 4:18:41 PM ET Military blood has run through my family for generations and one thing that has been passed down to me is that all lawful orders are to be followed regardless of personal opinion or belief.The comments I've read below even those by Junior and Field grade officers is disturbing. Any airmen violating this law will receive punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice so why complain This law benefits the health of airmen and the effectiveness of the Air Force as a whole therefore any such complaints are unfounded and ridiculous.By the way if a civilian is telling this to even a Major then something's wrong here.
Bailey Paradis, Williamsburg
10/4/2010 11:13:05 AM ET You guys can't get mad at the Air Force for this, just look at the measures being taken against these substances in various states and the overwhelming majority votes. Mostly it's fear mongering and the baby boomers to blame, but let's be honest if alcohol wasn't so forcefully accepted in society that would be banned too because we are armed military professionals and need to be a higher caliber of person than the average joe. However I do believe based on actual research I've read that THC and derivatives should be medically legalized because of their analgesic effects. I have a good friend with rheumatoid arthritis and she can't stand the side effects of legal analgesics -addiction, liver failure etc. This is a problem our civilian leadership needs to address congress not the AF.
8/17/2010 11:31:01 AM ET To Lynn K and others who want to alter their mood through chemicals and think that won't have any consequences - Ask your legal office if they kick people out for huffing. They certainly do all the time. In regard to perscription drugs, don't be ridiculous. This is specifically adressing the ABUSE of substances. If you ABUSE a prescription medication, you're in trouble. If you use it as prescribed, you're not in any trouble.
Private, JBER AK
8/2/2010 8:33:57 AM ET So they picked two of the most harmful of the drugs on the market pure alcohol and tobacco. I can understand banning specific drugs like spice and salvia one because they make you complacent for extended periods of time and two in rare cases hallucinogens can cause mild PTSD. But aside from all that nearly every alcoholic product other that white lightning is a tincture of psychoactive herbs and other substances such as beer and hops which puts you to sleep and gin which contains juniper berries. Various wines and there endless combinations of additives AKA. congeners if you ever wondered why different types of alcohol affect you differently ask the brewer or distiller about what herbs they use in the production the majority of which under the new regulations can get you thrown in prison.
A1C Carlough, WPAFB
7/23/2010 5:46:33 PM ET While I don't think it should be banned I think people need to be VERY careful. There are so many k2 incense counterfeiters. Stay safe
6/21/2010 10:35:20 AM ET I smoke cigarettes because it gives me a high. It's a pleasant mood-altering feeling with extremely detrimental long-term health effects.If I'm not allowed to ingest harmless by all scientific evidence substances that alter my mood or function then why am I allowed to ingest HARMFUL substances that do the same thing
6/21/2010 8:47:09 AM ET Most of you are not BEING military. I say this because any of you who mention caffeine or green tea to alter mood or function is entirely crazy. The law isnt super vague. We are on the same side as the government and we all know overdosing on mountain dew will just make you sick. This is why we have laws around certain things the ALTER MOODS to the point of no control. We all should just stop realize that the air force doesnt want to alter our mood or mind and deal with it. I see it all the time with workout supplements and the biggest thing to worry there is to not overdose testosterone andor they will catch on a piss test. In conclusion CALM DOWN safest thing to do is to KNOW the rules and NOT Break them.
6/20/2010 8:01:01 AM ET The vague wording simply allows for the powers that be to adjust the rules and regulations whenever it is convenient for them. Its always been that way and always will be.
SrA JB, Michigan
6/20/2010 4:12:34 AM ET K2 spice exists only as a result of prohibition as a form of legal---not yet illegal---cannabis.Concerning cannabis and Salvia divinorum I have searched for many years if they lead to problems---other than the problems raised by their illegality. I found nothing but a persistent misuse of logic and statistics. There is no evidence at all that cannabis and salvia are toxic or addictive or that they lead to any problem. On the contrary, there are evidences that they are the safest and the most efficacious medication on this planet. I did find evidence that alcohol and tobacco are addictive and toxic. This widespread misinformation is also a consequence of prohibition.
6/20/2010 1:49:26 AM ET You can say that anything you ingest that effects your central nervous system alters your mood and function. For example, are you going to ban all caffeine products such as coffee and expresso? How about energy drinks? And lets not forget any type of pre-workout mix or drink
Ssgt Jawback, Savannah Ga
6/18/2010 11:15:13 PM ET It is incredulous that comments here regarding AFI directives could conceivably be subject to any opinion at all and that those opinions should have any bearing whatsoever. AFI directives are for the benefit of all Air Force elements and their function is to provide for and protect American interests at large as those interests concern International Law, Military Air Superiority, Military Ground Forces support and hostile forces insurgent interdiction and destruction. I am former Air Force NCO 1969-1975 and some of the comments I read here are truly disturbing. You took an Oath to obey lawful orders. Your word is only as good as your honor. You decide what that's worth. Maybe you are worthless, but that's your decision.
Steve Killelea, Former Air Force
6/18/2010 5:12:40 PM ET This is just supposed to be a deterrent. I bet none of this could stick in court unless you caused injury to someone or something negative happened as a result. Simple possession or use of such things I bet would be ignored or not even recognized by the average person. I will continue my use of other substances that are not illegal in the real world.
Lynn K, Ellington JRB
6/18/2010 4:42:58 PM ET JRE saying there is applied common sense to any AFI is borderline laughable. We are nit picked to death over language in AFI's. Language that has little or no bearing on the results of a task or operation but serve only to facilitate burning someone over something idiotic. Someones career WILL get hurt over this. 26 years and counting of experience tells me I'm right.
6/18/2010 12:24:50 PM ET But ... the spice must flow.
Paul Atreides, Arrakis
6/18/2010 9:27:00 AM ET Having been on the other side of the gavel, the whole person concept comes into play here. Screw up one little bit and that opens the door for the entire Bible to be thrown at you. In some cases, the finest details are the ones that prevail. Ambiguous or not, the regulation is the rifle and verbatim is the bullet in court
Brian, Washington DC
6/18/2010 5:35:06 AM ET Before you comment you should read the AFI. It covers alcohol and tabacco products. I think it's pretty straight forward. httpwww.af.milsharedmediaepubsAFI44-121.pdf
6/18/2010 2:08:18 AM ET I'm eager to read what the actual AFI dictates. energy drinks performance enhanching beverages prescribed medication etc. can be considered mood and performance altering substances. This AFI better be considerably specific. Otherwise from my stand-point contains many loop-holes for leadership.
A1C Manibusan, Spangdahlem AB
6/17/2010 5:34:09 PM ET To all the comments on coffee and other items... Grow up there is certainly some applied comon sense to the AFI, they are not gonna go kicking people out for drinking soda or coffe. This is aimed at any future Pop Culture drugs like Spice.
6/17/2010 5:27:40 PM ET People know when they are doing stuff for the wrong reasons or misusing legal substances. Saying stuff about cigarettes and coffee is stupid; you are just saying nonsense to say nonsense. If you are doing anything with the intentions of getting high your wrong, and should be punished for it. The its better to ask for forgiveness than permission saying really isn't something you should test with things that will get you kicked out.
SSgt TC, Hill AFB
6/17/2010 3:31:25 PM ET I read all the smart remarks made by the first five people. This issue is personal to me because I just lost a good Airman to spice use. People try to talk about cigarettes and nicotine, and the effects from those are widely known. So far no one knows the effect of spice use so it is a serious issue.
6/17/2010 2:44:39 PM ET Nathan the wording is definitely ambiguous. I know for a fact that there are Active and Reserve Airmen who take anti-convulsants for bipolar disorder, amphetamines for shift worker syndrome and antidepressants all of which are for bona fide line of duty conditions.I'd personally love it if they banned tobacco. Just sayin. Funny that this form would not let me submit the comment if I used punctuation other than periods and commas. Not even an ampersand I need a Xanax...lol
Dee, San Antonio
6/17/2010 2:36:58 PM ET The writer really should have put the added paragraph verbatim. Per the AFI on the first page, Addition of para 3.5.6. In order to ensure military readiness safeguard the health and wellness of the force and maintain good order and discipline in the service the knowing use of any intoxicating substance other than the lawful use of alcohol or tobacco products that is inhaled injected consumed or introduced into the body in any manner to alter mood or function is prohibited. These substances include but are not limited to controlled substance analogues-e.g. designer drugs such as spice that are not otherwise controlled substances inhalants propellants solvents household chemicals and other substances used for huffing prescription or over-the-counter medications when used in a manner contrary to their intended medical purpose or in excess of the prescribed dosage and naturally occurring intoxicating substances-e.g. Salvia divinorum.
jeff, SW Asia
6/17/2010 2:11:25 PM ET Not only will this ban coffee and colas but it will also ban that great mood lifter chocolate. No more reaching for that snickers bar in the middle of the afternoon or eating some chocolate chip cookies. Also organizations better not participate in a bake sale or you will be selling mood altering substances and organizations had better shut down their snack bars and coffee pots or switch to only decaf. This sounds like a great regulation that kills a fly with a 500 lb bomb.
Jerry , Oklahoma
6/17/2010 1:57:29 PM ET The memorandum states prescription or over-the-counter medications when used in a manner contrary to their intended medical purpose or in excess of the prescribed dosage and caffeine is a stimulant not a mood altering substance.
Harry L, Langley
6/17/2010 1:53:12 PM ET @Rob not only coffee but what about other over-the-counter products like Five Hour Energy Shots That is a product definitely designed to alter function.
Bill, Oklahoma City
6/17/2010 1:52:46 PM ET Does this include Powerade or green tea?
Rim, Bragg Army Airfield aka Pope
6/17/2010 12:47:07 PM ET It doens't ban tobacco but it doesn't say anything about nicotine. I suppose cigarettes are out then.
Lt Alan Morford, Ellsworth AFB
6/17/2010 12:25:50 PM ET Aroma therapy is no illegal as well. Way to go AF and making another instruction even more vague to the point that you will could ruin careers.
6/17/2010 11:41:59 AM ET Wow, I'll be interested to read the actual memo. In the realm of legal mumbo-jumbo where common sense isn't king and yields to the verbatim authoritarians this current wording could potentially lead to a lot of irrationality. I'm a bit worried when the Lt. Col. says if done with the intent to use in a manner that would alter mood or function is also prohibited because I take over-the-counter medications to help the function of my brain when it's hurting me and other function-altering drugs when my joints hurt. There are also a lot of fitness addicts that love to take function altering milkshakes which enhance their performance at the gym. What about those mood-altering anti-depressants I guess your doctors can't prescribe any drugs that may help you feel better...
Nathan, RAF Lakenheath
6/17/2010 11:38:21 AM ET Does that mean coffee is banned since that alters moods?
6/17/2010 11:12:47 AM ET Wouldn't this, under the wording in the story above, also ban the ingestion of caffeine also? This is ingested to alter mood or function.