When Expanding the Mind Becomes
By LCpl. Zachary A. Crawford
MCB Camp Lejeune
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.(Oct. 24, 2000) He was only known as 'C.J.'
to his friends. With short, shaggy-blonde hair atop a scrawny 120-pound
frame, he had the reputation of being quite the party animal when
it came to knowing when, and where, the jumpin' party scene was.
C.J. was a guy who liked to expand his mind, not by reading great
works of literature or going to the movies, but by involving himself
in taking the drug known as methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly
known as "X" or "ecstasy."
While it seemed like a great way to have a good time when the weekends
rolled around, no one in his chain of command thought it was such
a great idea. As a matter of fact, after a general court martial,
it was determined that 20 to 30 years in the brig and a dishonorable
discharge would be his price to pay for his un-healthy, not to mention,
illegal "mind expanding experience."
This account is from an actual case pending against a Marine based
here. Some of the facts stated previously, such his name, have been
changed to protect the individual's privacy.
Even though some the facts have been changed, the use of ecstasy
is still a problem facing the Marine Corps. It is more and more
an obvious problem in the military each time a servicemember, whether
in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marine Corps, is punished
for either possessing, pushing or using ecstasy while in the service.
Ecstasy is a European-born drug, which has been around for more
than 80 years. It was eventually outlawed by the United States 15
years ago when it was proven to have no medicinal purpose. It is
considered one of the most dangerous drugs available.
Studies have shown that approximately 1 out of 12 high school seniors
have tried the drug, and it is the most-used drug for teens and
people in their early 20s.
Some of the signs of ecstasy use include dehydration, anxiety,
exhaustion and increased body temperature.
Paraphernalia associated with the use of the drug include chemical
light sticks (chem lights) and dust filter masks with menthol ointments
coating the inside of the mask, which enhance the drug's effects.
Other forms of paraphernalia include lollipops and pacifiers, which
are used to prevent the involuntary locking of the jaw, grinding
of the teeth and sucking associated with the use of the drug.
Some Marines based here are ruining their military careers by making
careless decisions and permanently marring the image of their unit,
according to Special Agent Robin Knapp, Naval Criminal Investigative
"We are seeing a significant increase in ecstasy use, sale
and distribution," said Knapp. "It's not only a problem
with the military, it's also a problem with the civilians out in
town as well."
The special agent and his squad of investigators are working hard
to decrease the problem. "We are doing productive investigations
to help control the problem," said Knapp. "We have a special
section here that deals with narcotics and the one drug we run into
most often is ecstasy."
The agents at NCIS are not alone in the battle to fight drug use
in the Marine Corps.
"We are working hand-in-hand with outside agencies with most
of our cases," said Knapp. "We primarily work with the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jacksonville Police Department,
the Sheriff's Department and other agencies from all over."
Apparently, the majority of the ecstasy problem is with the younger
generation of Marines, according to Knapp.
"The cases we handle usually involve the junior Marines aged
18 to 25," said Knapp, "but that doesn't mean that we
have not had cases that involve older servicemembers."
Knapp and the other agents are trying to get the point across to
people about the extreme danger of the drug.
"Most people don't know that ecstasy is a very dangerous schedule-one
drug," said Knapp. "A schedule-one drug means that it
is a drug that has no medical significance whatsoever. People don't
understand that it has very bad effects on the body. It can really
tear a body apart causing things like prolonged depression, brain
damage and a multitude of other problems."