By Ben Sherman, Fort SillJuly 19, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. (July 19, 2012) -- The Fort Sill Criminal Investigation Department recently issued an alert about a new synthetically produced controlled substance known as "Pump-It Powder."
It is the latest synthetic product to be manufactured and sold under a false definition as an "enhanced plant vitamin" but is being consumed for the purposes of getting high.
Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, has already issued a memorandum that prohibits this new product under the Army Substance Abuse Regulation 600-85. Possessing, using, selling or distributing prohibited substances is illegal on Fort Sill.
"Pump-It Powder" is another substance that is often referred to by the street names "bath salts" or "plant food," but actually has nothing to do with either real bath salts or plant foods. Effects of this new substance are described as a stimulant mixed with a hallucinogen. Initial reports indicate that using this substance causes an increased risk of hospitalization, and that side effects include convulsions, paranoia, chest pains or increased heart rate that can lead to cardiac arrest.
"Before 'Pump-It Powder' bath salts were already out there, but everybody was talking about Spice, and they are not the same thing. Spice is used by marijuana users, and bath salts are used by meth addicts," said Sandra Jefferson, Fort Sill Army Substance Abuse Program drug testing coordinator.
Jefferson stated that nobody really knows what is in "bath salts" because there are so many different brands and there is no regulation of these products. "These so-called "bath salts" are very dangerous for our Soldiers and for the public," she added.
"There is so much risk with these synthetic drugs. The people who are mixing these substances up are using literally dozens of different chemicals and products," said Jay Khalifeh, ASAP director here. "The danger of physical and psychological damage is very great, not to mention the legal aspects and what they can do to a Soldier's military career.
"The commanding general has ruled a number of places in Lawton that are off-limits to Soldiers because they are selling these substances. Soldiers need to remember there are legal penalties as well as health consequences related to using these substances. These drugs are so much stronger and haven't been studied as to their side effects, such as dementia or schizophrenia," Khalifeh added.
Jefferson echoed those concerns about the use of "bath salts" by stating that they are worse than LSD and there is no quality control. One batch may not do much in the way of a high, but the next time a user can have a negative reaction that could cause psychological damage.
"We do have a lower rate of testing positive for drugs than just about any post in the Army because we have such a good relationship with the commanders here. Sandy Jefferson knows all the unit and battalion prevention leaders and is able to communicate with them and build a good network of folks that are all working towards the same goals," said Khalifeh.
"Most of our Soldiers are not abusing drugs or other substances. We do, however, have to be vigilant about warning Soldiers and their dependents about the dangers of substance abuse and also be vigilant in helping command identify those who are abusing drugs and help them the best we can," Khalifeh said.