Study participants told researchers they believed that use of synthetic marijuana was significantly higher in the military than in the civilian population. It was the only substance that soldiers believed they used more than civilians, which supports the idea that synthetic marijuana is particularly attractive to military personnel, the researchers said.
"What we think other people do tends to be important in prevention efforts and intervention efforts," said Denise Walker, lead author of the study and a UW research associate professor of social work. "If soldiers think it's common for military personnel to use Spice, then they might think it's OK to use it."
Walker said soldiers tend to avoid treatment for substance abuse issues because seeking treatment automatically goes on their record.
"Who would sign up for that in the civilian population if your boss and your coworkers will immediately know?" Walker said.
The Warrior Check-Up is not considered treatment, and participation is strictly confidential.
Users of synthetic marijuana were younger and less educated than those who were dependent only on alcohol. They were more likely to be single and earned less money than those who were dependent on other drugs or alcohol. But there were no differences in ethnicity, race, deployment history or religion. Researchers also found that synthetic marijuana users were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop drug dependence than those who used other drugs (but not alcohol).
The majority of participants believed their use of synthetic marijuana resulted in failing to meet obligations, such as being late for work, doing their job poorly, or not handling home and child care responsibilities well.
One hazard of using synthetic marijuana was needing more and more to get the sam
|Contact: Denise Walker|
University of Washington