Investigation finds significant drug use, party culture at Naval Academy

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by scoutpilot, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot 5-Year Member

    Apr 29, 2010
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  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent 5-Year Member

    Apr 13, 2010
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    Wow. That was quite a read which brings to mind a number of questions.

    • How is it that "Most of the parents who spoke to The Capital blame the Naval Academy for not sufficiently educating mids about spice and other designer drugs."?
    • Do the parents really believe that this is simply an educational issue?
    • Does a similar drug culture exist at the other Service Academies?
  3. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

    Jan 14, 2011
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    Hey! That's my old company!

    On a more serious note...

    Spice and synthetic drugs were real bad among a couple subsets of people at the Academy the end of my 3/C year through winter 2/C year. A couple incidents triggered that big investigation and a lot of people (deservedly)went down.
    Pay attention to the dates in the article: fall 2010 was a painful semester for my company and the subsequent investigation continued through the winter and into the spring. I remember very distinctly the NCIS guys walking around our deck tossing rooms and many of my friends and classmates being interrogated. Two of the MIDN kicked out were guys from my plebe summer squad, and we lost a couple others from other classes. I either know or can guess at a lot of the "unnamed MIDN" in the article.
    But since then...there were no significant issues in my company and synthetic drug use (to my knowledge) trickled down to about zero, where it should be.

    To address some issues people were bringing up in the comments:
    -There are already regular drug tests conducted at USNA after each leave period and numerous "surprise" urinalyses. If they couldn't test for synthetic drugs before, I'm sure they're doing they're damnedest to test for them now.
    -300-500 MIDN drug users (as in, habitually)sounds high. Maybe at peak popularity, and maybe including people who tried it just a couple times, but even then probably just at the lower end of that. Remember that this is a guy who is an informant (i.e., trying to cover his own ***) and friends/a supplier to many of these people. Of course he's going to guess the number high.
    -The NCIS guys interrogated TONS of people, to the point of it seeming like a witch hunt to the mids. My best friend, top graduate from my company (and the sort of guy who never touched alcohol until he was 21, despite a year at a civilian college), got interviewed because one of the kids who got kicked out hung out in his room sometimes. It was like they played "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" with the spice users.
    -In the beginning, people were using this stuff because they thought it hadn't been officially banned by the Navy (they were wrong, and were idiots). I'd guess there was a decent number of people who tried spice a couple times before realizing that it was criminally stupid and stopped well before the investigation kicked off.
    -Obviously, not everyone who should have been caught or kicked out was caught or kicked out. This sucks, but is just sort of the way it happened (see: any USxA cheating or conduct scandal, etc.)

    I'm not going to flat out say "synthetic drugs aren't an issue anymore" because I'm not at USNA anymore and can't say that with any certainty. It definitely is not the same as it was my 3/C and 2/C year, which is a good thing. People realized that the administration was super-serious about crushing anyone involved with spice (rightly so) and more stuff came out about potential health risks, so use went way down.

    Obviously it's a big issue and I'm not trying to say it's not or excuse the behavior: I'm just trying to provide a little context, especially considering the dates of the events in the article. This is not a "sky is falling!" issue in 2012/2013. It was in 2010-2011.

    Full disclosure; I never used spice. Not my bag, and the guys who were involved weren't my scene.
  4. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent 5-Year Member

    Apr 7, 2009
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    Can't answer the 3rd question, but the answer to the first 2 questions are the same for any substance abusing teen/young adult regardless of whether they are privileged enough to attend a SA or not:

    Education has never been the issue. It has always been about the judgement of the teen/young adult. There was an old joke of a similar vein dealing with another teen problem that goes like this:

    At a Catholic school, the brother teaching the required course on reproductive health gave a long talk about the perils of sexual activity finishing with the line "Is risking a lifetime of difficulty worth an hour of pleasure?" At this time a hand went up and asked "How do you make it last an hour?"

    While we all laughed at the joke, it does point out how little thought the young mind puts into the negative outcomes of their actions and how they can deny the dangers presented to them as something that happens to others.

    As parents, we tend to credit our young adult children with our (hard earned) sense of what risks are worth taking (although we tend to forget our own youthful choices). Many of these young men and women haven't had to face the consequences of their decisions because their parents haven't really put them in a place where they suffer real consequences before sending them off to a SA.

    Basically, they've never been caught doing anything that results in a major punishment, so how would they know how to evaluate a high stakes gamble like doing drugs at a SA?

    The "education" these kids are lacking is in experiencing strict and certain discipline for poor choices they are allowed to make. That is a parental responsibility.

    BTW, this lack of experience in making high risk decisions also allows them to choose a SA in the first place - Let's face it, the military has not exactly been the safest of careers in the past decade.

    The difference her between drug choices and SA choices is that one has a generally long-lasting positive impact on your life if the negative outcome(s) are avoided. The other choice is a temporary fleeting pleasure with only negative long-term outcomes.
  5. navyasw02

    navyasw02 Member

    Apr 3, 2012
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    How much of a specialized training do you need to understand that 1. drugs are bad and 2. any drugs are against the rules? It's a no brainer. Now the Navy wastes tons of man hours training bad behavior out of people.
  6. pilot2b

    pilot2b 5-Year Member

    Jul 8, 2011
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    I don't doubt there is a drug culture at USNA that exceeds what we may have thought before, but 300-500 mids seems awfully high to be an accurate estimate. A lot of NAPSters have been texting friends (or in some cases siblings) at the academy, and a number say they haven't heard of the investigation at all.
  7. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 5-Year Member

    Nov 20, 2007
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    This is old news. If you ask anyone from 2014 or later, they probably didn't see spice at all while they were here.

    There is absolutely no way it was 300-500 midshipmen. The only time I saw it was on cruise, and the sailors were doing it in the torpedo rooms. The reason people did it was because they thought it was legal, which it was, and therefore ok for midshipmen. Since its been stated that ALL mind altering substances are banned, as opposed to just illegal mind-altering substances, I have neither seen nor heard of this stuff. 300-500 habitual users is a ridiculous number. I'd be surprised with 300 people that did it once.

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