FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Installation law enforcement staff have expanded their efforts to address an uptick in prohibited activities that risk the safety of the military community and can derail promising military careers.
New Soldiers in-processing at the 1st Lt. J. Robert Kalsu Replacement Company are now receiving a briefing about Delta 8 and firearm safety as part of the weekly Newcomer’s Brief.
A discussion about legal and safety concerns was added to the briefing after the Provost Marshal’s COMPSTAT, or computer statistics, policing identified a rising trend in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, use and the improper handling of privately owned firearms, said Keith Shumate, Fort Campbell chief of police.
COMPSTAT policing is a performance management system used to detect crime trends while emphasizing information-sharing, responsibility, accountability and improving effectiveness, Shumate said.
“We wanted to be able to brief incoming Soldiers because there has been such an issue with certain things, specifically Delta 8,” said Lt. Pedro Hernandez, PMO watch commander who gave the July 13 briefing.
Delta-8 is found naturally in the hemp plant, but usually in low concentrations that make extraction techniques inefficient. It is instead synthesized from CBD extracted from hemp through isomerization in a laboratory.
The Delta-8 compound was not explicitly addressed in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized CBD and other hemp-derived products. Because of this, Delta-8 can be sold off-post without legal consequence, which has caused confusion among Soldiers as to why it is prohibited in the Army.
“By testing positive for synthetic cannabis and other THC substitutes, a Soldier is in violation of a punitive regulation which is a violation of Article 92 (10 U.S.C. 892) – failure to obey order or regulation,” Shumate said.
This infraction comes with hefty consequences, he said.
The maximum punishment for failing to obey an order or regulation includes a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for two years. This also can lead to losing education and veteran benefits, as well as impact Soldier and Family economic well-being.
Michael Hicks, installation drug coordinator, Fort Campbell Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP, said the number of Soldiers being discharged because of Delta 8 use is cause for alarm.
“By far, THC 9 [marijuana] and Delta 8 outweigh the results for any other drug right now, so it’s something we have to work on,” Hicks said.
Sergeant First Class Adam Costello, senior platoon sergeant at Kalsu, said the recent spike in Delta 8 usage among Soldiers concerns him.
“Delta 8 is the most prevalent drug we struggle with and that’s because it’s so readily available, you can go down to the corner store and it’s there,” Costello said.
He hopes the information presented at the briefing will help Soldiers understand the gravity of their actions
“These new Soldiers have had to go through quite a bit just to get to this point, and that’s true even for those who have been in for a while,” he said. “The Marine Corps has a saying ‘protect what you’ve earned’ and I just try to remind them that they’ve put in a lot of work to get where they are right now and throwing it all away over a vape or gummy that contains the substance isn’t worth it.”
Specialist Tiffany Brunson, Kalsu Replacement Company, attended the Newcomers Brief and said the information about Delta 8 and CBD was new to her.
“I didn’t know much about Delta 8 until I came to this briefing,” Brunson said. “We’re all expected to act a certain way and comply with rules while we’re here. We’ve all been told about it so no one can say they didn’t know it was wrong.”
Self-referral for treatment is the best option for Soldiers who have used or are using illicit drugs and do not want to put their Army careers in jeopardy, Hicks said.
“When it pertains to Soldiers, as long as the Soldier seeks help before they are notified that they’ve been selected for a urinalysis test, there won’t be any ramifications against them because that’s the whole point of the limited use policy – for those individuals to seek help,” he said.
For more information about Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP, call 270-798-4411 or visit https://home.army.mil/campbell/index.php/about/Garrison/dhr/asap-services. To reach Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care, or SUDCC, call 270-412-3247.
Privately owned firearms
Properly securing privately owned firearms, or POFs, is another issue, Hernandez said.
“If you’re going to bring a firearm on the installation then it needs to be registered with either a trigger lock or secured in a case and the ammunition must be separate from the firearm,” he said. “Most people who get in trouble with this are people who are keeping it with them tucked underneath a car seat or just blatantly ignoring the rules.”
In accordance with Army Regulation 190-11, Physical Security of Arms, Ammunitions, and Explosives; and Fort Campbell Regulation 190-1, Fort Campbell Physical Security Program; all POFs must be registered, unloaded and properly stored. POFs carried in a vehicle must be secured in the trunk. For vehicles without a trunk, firearms will be encased in a container.
Carrying concealed POFs on Fort Campbell is prohibited.
“People caught with a firearm that isn’t registered, properly secured, or that violates the guidelines concerning separation of firearms and ammunition, could end up with four or five different charges,” Hernandez said. “These could include improper storage, failure to register, carry and conceal, among others.”
For more information visit, https://home.army.mil/campbell/index.php/about/Garrison/DES/provost-marshal.