is Not For You
By JO1(SW) Scott Sutherland
Naval Station San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NWS) Myth: Sailors who use ecstasy believe Navy
drug screening labs don't test for ecstasy. Fact: labs test every
urine sample for it. This is one of the many things Sailors learn
about the "rave" drug, ecstasy, whenever they attend anti-drug
training. The drug is so prevalent in society that many naval ships
and stations have training specially tailored to ecstasy awareness.
Recently, USS Constellation's (CV 64) Drug and Alcohol Prevention
Advisors (DAPA) and representatives of its Counseling and Assistance
Center (CAAC) held ecstasy awareness training for crewmembers.
They presented five main objectives to the crew, all centered around
education and training about ecstasy, an amphetamine-based drug
with hallucinogenic properties. The objectives were:
- Identify the forms of ecstasy, how it is used, and who is abusing
- Explain the effects of ecstasy abuse;
- Cite the federal law and Navy policy concerning ecstasy;
- Cite ecstasy abuse health consequences;
- Identify behavioral and physical symptoms of ecstasy abuse.
The objectives are covered in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Management
Supervisors (ADAMS) facilitator training, a Navywide program given
to all supervisors and seniors, E-5 to 0-4. DAPA's Navywide instruction
on drug and alcohol programs, OPNAVINST 5350.4C, states that commanding
officers are encouraged to select qualified personnel for training
ADAMS facilitator training is a five-day course followed by certification.
The DAPA representatives on "Connie," AKC(AW/SW) Emmanuel
Qualls and MMCS(AW/SW) Donald Bell, agree that their main focus
was simple -- educating Connie Sailors about the harmful effects
of ecstasy. Because of its hallucinogenic properties, ecstasy is
harmful to the body. And due to the Navy's zero tolerance against
drugs of any kind, ecstasy is also equally harmful to your Navy
"If we can educate and train our people about the effects
of ecstasy," said Qualls, a native of Monroe, La., "then
we could stop its abuse. We want to open Sailors' minds, and get
the word out that drugs are not allowed in the Navy. We helped educate
supervisors on how to look for ecstasy. If the supervisor sees a
baby pacifier or athletic mouthpiece on a Sailor's necklace, it
could get the supervisor thinking that there's a problem."
Ecstasy users are often seen with these items because users often
involuntarily grind their teeth while under the drug's influence.
Within the past several years, there has been a rise in positive
drug test results for ecstasy among U.S. service members. Within
the Navy, there were 34 individuals identified as positive for ecstasy
in FY98. By FY00, this number increased to 238 individuals.
Master At Arms 2nd Class(SW) Alfonso Cordova of Los Angeles runs
Connie's urinalysis program. He said ecstasy has joined marijuana
and cocaine as the most prevalent drugs that come up positive on
samples sent to Navy Drug Screening Labs (NDSLs).
The drug, which can cost about $45 a hit, or $185 for five hits,
is most popular in Europe and the United States, where it has for
years fueled psychedelic "rave" parties where users bask
in its effects, which are said to be deep relaxation, increased
sensation, euphoria and feelings of closeness to others. Rave parties
are frenzied affairs that play loud "techno" music with
light shows, smoke, fog machines and fireworks. Raves often have
heavy cover charges and high security to spot law enforcement officials.
Qualls said, "In the rave environment, the temptation of ecstasy
will come down on you. I ask you, `What is the attraction?' It's
just like what we tell Sailors about liberty in Tijuana (Mexico).
After dark, chances increase that something bad might happen."
"ADAMS training is for people in the first line of defense,"
Bell said. "Lots of Connie Sailors haven't had ADAMS. It's
an awareness, education, prevention and deglamourization campaign."
Connie's CAAC representative, OSC(SW) Douglas Brown of San Diego
added, "If I was talking to a group of Sailors, my first point
would be to explain that ecstasy is a form of methamphetamine with
hallucinogenic effects. It is, by nature, a dangerous chemical,
capable of causing strokes, kidney damage and fatalities, even in
Asked what they'd do if a Sailor comes across the quarterdeck on
their watch, and the Sailor is wearing a baby pacifier or athletic
mouthpiece, Qualls and Bell had two different answers.
Qualls said, "I'd hold him there, write down his name, and
then pass the information on to his supervisor. By coming across
the quarterdeck with drug paraphernalia, he just stereotyped himself."
"I'd ask him, `What are you doing with a pacifier?'"
said Bell. "It's the first common-sense question to ask. His
response would trigger a mechanism in me, and I could tell by his
mannerisms that something's not quite right here. Then I'd bring
it up to the command DAPA."
Last fall, former Constellation crewmember Lt. Cmdr. Robert Loeh
was sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling ecstasy and other
drugs to undercover officers.
"The Loeh case set no precedent, but it does set an example,"
said Qualls. "It's the same rule for everybody. No Sailor is
exempt. "Maybe Connie Sailors will take something positive