If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.

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February 1, 2024
Take caution with THC-O Acetate.

Beware of THC-O acetate (THC-O), a dangerous, synthetic form of cannabinoid that is potentially toxic. THC-O is artificially created in labs by adding chemicals to delta-8 THC or delta-9 THC (as a reminder, THC is the ingredient that produces a “high” or calming effect). Due to lack of regulation, its contents and dose strength can be uncertain. THC-O is most commonly sold in the form of vape cartridges, oil containers and gummies. While THC-O is a very new substance on the market, limited research has shown that THC-O may have side effects such as seizures, difficulty speaking and vomiting. A recent public health warning noted that vaping THC-O can produce ketene, a toxic chemical known to cause lung injury. Take caution as some products containing THC-O may even be falsely labeled as delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC or other cannabis alternatives that are advertised as legal. As Service members, remember that consuming any amount or form of THC, including THC-O, is prohibited and could cost you your health and career.



December 12, 2023
Everything you need to know about mushrooms (not the cooking kind).

Mushrooms may seem like a good option to let loose (and in some places they are used legally for medical purposes), but they are federally illegal substances prohibited for Service members. Not to mention, they pose serious risks to physical and psychological health. “Magic mushrooms”, “shrooms”, “amanita mushrooms” and “magic amanita” are some common names to watch out for, and certain types may even be falsely advertised as legal. Mushrooms come in a variety of forms and are often consumed through gummies, candy, infused teas, cooked food or pills. While these substances are marketed to improve mood and mental well-being, mushrooms can produce hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) or distort one’s sense of reality. Dangerous side effects may also include nausea, vomiting, anxiety, seizures, hallucinations, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat and fevers, and some varieties are poisonous. Ensure military readiness and resilience by avoiding prohibited substances like mushrooms. Don’t take a gamble when it comes to your health and career.

November 7, 2023
Steer clear of tianeptine.

Tianeptine is a highly addictive, opioid-like antidepressant drug that has not been FDA-approved for medical or commercial use. It is commonly sold under the names “Tianna,” “ZaZa” and “Red Dawn” in the U.S. and may be even more accessible in certain European or Asian countries under the names “Coaxil” or “Tatino.” Tianeptine is commonly used to self-treat anxiety, depression, pain or opioid use disorder and is marketed to improve brain function, but it’s not safe. Tianeptine is illegally sold online, in gas stations and at convenience stores, sometimes as a dietary supplement, in the form of tablets or powder. The Drug Enforcement Agency issued a recent warning outlining the dangers of tianeptine. Tianeptine has a high potential for abuse once someone starts using it and use is associated with vomiting, high blood pressure, distress, slowed or stopped breathing, coma and death. Service members should avoid tianeptine and be wary of false or misleading advertising. The FDA has released a report outlining the dangers of tianeptine products and how you can protect yourself and others. Stay alert and only use medications prescribed by your health care provider.

October 19, 2023
Beware of counterfeit pills.

Counterfeit pills are pills that may look like common prescription medications but are obtained without a valid prescription from either off the street or a location other than a trusted pharmacy. While they have long been available, counterfeit pills now often contain illicit or dangerous substances like fentanyl. Since the contents of these counterfeit pills are not known, individuals who take them are putting themselves at risk for serious consequences like overdose or death (especially when they contain harmful things). Counterfeit pills are often marketed to address pain or anxiety. As a Service member, it may be enticing to try these pills without having to see a health care provider, but this is illegal and could impact health and career.

Stay alert and only use medications prescribed to you by your health care provider. It’s not worth the risk.

March 6, 2023
Service members: avoid poppy seeds (and popping positive).

The DoD recently issued a memo [PDF 95KB] warning Service members to not eat poppy seeds because of the risk of a positive drug test. Poppy seeds (found in foods we eat like bagels, crackers and muffins) come from poppy plants that are grown and then harvested for use in foods and prescription medications. Recent information suggests certain poppy seeds may be contaminated with higher levels of codeine – which could cause a positive drug test for codeine. The DoD has not banned poppy seeds, but advises Service members to avoid consuming food products and baked goods that contain poppy seeds at this time. Keep an eye out for updates on the warning in coming months.

February 22, 2023
Watch out: some illicit drugs may be contaminated with xylazine.

Xylazine is an FDA-approved pain reliever and sedative for animals that’s being added to illicit drugs, such as opioids (like fentanyl and heroin), meth and cocaine. It’s also known as “tranq,” “tranq dope” and “zombie drug,” and is not safe for humans. Authorities think xylazine is most frequently combined with fentanyl. People often don’t know when drugs have xylazine in them, and the effects can look similar to those seen with an opioid overdose (like decreased or depressed breathing). Even though the symptoms are similar, know that the opioid overdose medication, naloxone, may not help with an overdose (or help prevent death) because xylazine is not an opioid. Also, repeated use of injectable drugs with xylazine may cause serious injury to tissues and skin, possibly resulting in amputation or other significant effects. Service members: not only can using illicit drugs cost you your career, but exposure to unknown dangerous substances in these drugs can cause serious health effects, impact readiness and result in overdose and even death.

November 8, 2022
If you use Benzedrex®, use it correctly to avoid popping positive.

Benzedrex® is an over-the-counter (OTC) nasal decongestant inhaler often used for colds, hayfever and allergies. If it’s not used as instructed, the OTC drug can cause a positive drug test and serious harm (think: heart, lung and psychological health problems). Keep in mind that using any medication inappropriately is dangerous and can result in serious risks. As a Service member, make sure to follow directions and use medications as prescribed or indicated on the box. If you’re not sure, ask a pharmacist or your health care provider to protect your health and career.

October 3, 2022
Watch out for rainbow fentanyl.

Fentanyl pills and powder are becoming more available across the country in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Rainbow fentanyl, named for its bright colors, is highly addictive and potentially deadly. It is specifically marketed to appeal to children and young people and looks like candy or blocks similar to sidewalk chalk. Every color, shape and size of rainbow fentanyl is illegal and extremely dangerous. Remember: while fentanyl can be safely prescribed for severe pain and obtained from a pharmacy, it can also be made and distributed illegally (like rainbow fentanyl) or found mixed in other illegal drugs. Know the difference and what to look out for when using prescribed fentanyl to keep your health and career safe.

June 27, 2022
What’s the deal with CBD cigarettes? Here’s what you need to know.

CBD cigarettes, such as TAAT®, are often marketed as tobacco free and nicotine free alternatives to traditional cigarettes, but they contain prohibited substances like CBD, hemp and/or THC. This means that you can pop positive on a drug test if you use them (reminder: hemp and CBD products* are prohibited for Service members no matter the legal status, where purchased or the claimed or actual THC levels). Some CBD cigarettes are offered in different flavors (like menthol), look and smell like tobacco and may be available where other tobacco products are purchased. Avoid tobacco products, especially those with prohibited substances, to protect your health and career as a Service member.

*The DOD and Service-level policies do not prohibit the use of durable hemp goods (like rope or clothing) or FDA-approved cannabinoid drugs for which a Service member has a valid prescription.

June 7, 2022
Fentanyl overdoses and overdose deaths are on the rise.

Illicit drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and counterfeit prescription drugs (drugs that are made with false ingredients than how it’s marketed) are being laced with fentanyl, causing a spike in the number of overdoses and deaths. This also includes a number of mass overdose events across the U.S. where many of the victims thought they were ingesting cocaine and didn’t know it was actually fentanyl. Service members: remember to stay alert and avoid illegal substances. Only use medications that are prescribed to you by your health care provider and make sure you’re using them safely.

May 3, 2022
Beware of new marijuana legalization laws in New Jersey.

As of April 21, 2022, recreational marijuana became available to purchase in New Jersey. If you are stationed in or PCSing to New Jersey this season, beware that medical and recreational marijuana use is now legal in that state. For more information on what state marijuana laws are already in place in the U.S., check out the What Marijuana Legalization Means for You infographic. Remember – marijuana is prohibited for Active and Reserve Component members, so avoid products that may have marijuana in them to protect your career.

April 20, 2022
Avoid hemp-infused energy drinks.

Energy drinks are common for Service members trying to stay alert while on duty. But did you know there’s a new beverage marketed to help you relax and unwind that you should avoid? Hemp-infused energy drinks. The drink, Rockstar Unplugged, and other similar products contain hemp seed oil, caffeine and other ingredients, and could make you pop positive on a drug test. Remember – even though these drinks are federally legal and available in local stores, hemp products are prohibited [PDF 296KB] for you to use as a Service member. Check out other ways to unwind without risking your career.

March 2, 2022
Does cannabis (also known as marijuana) not actually help people sleep after all?

A recent study shows people who recently used cannabis reported more extreme sleeping conditions; specifically, they slept shorter amounts (less than 6 hours) or longer amounts (more than 9 hours) rather than the optimal sleep length (which is 6-9 hours). Chronic sleep problems can negatively impact mental health, chronic pain and physical health so stay away from the prohibited drug and use these tips to get your sleep back on track.

February 16, 2022
The latest and potentially most dangerous opioid out there: nitazenes.

Nitazenes are a new synthetic form of opioids that are up to 20 times more powerful than fentanyl (that’s very strong). They’ve recently been found in illegal drugs, causing an increase in overdoses and deaths (overseas and in the states). While fentanyl is still one of the most misused opioids, nitazene is increasing in popularity because it’s stronger. Nitazenes also aren’t regulated, which means they are even more dangerous. Service members − stay alert and only use medications prescribed to you from your health care provider. It’s not worth the risk.

September 8, 2021
Delta-8 THC added to the DOD drug testing panel.

You might hear about products that include Delta-8 THC, like vapes and gummies, and that using Delta-8 won’t make you pop positive. The DOD, however, added Delta-8 THC to the drug testing panel in July 2021. Delta-8 is advertised as a milder high than the THC you’re familiar with and is often compared to CBD. However, like marijuana, CBD and hemp, Delta-8 THC is prohibited for Service members to use no matter the legal status of the product in your location or the claimed THC levels. Steer clear of products containing Delta-8 to avoid popping positive on the DOD drug testing panel.


June 15, 2021
There are new marijuana legalization laws that you should be aware of.

If you are stationed in or PCSing to any of the following states this summer, beware that new marijuana legalization laws for medical and/or recreational use will be going into effect:

  • New Mexico: June 2021 (Medical and recreational)
  • Alabama: June 2021 (Medical)
  • Virginia: July 2021 (Medical and recreational)
  • Connecticut: July 2021 (Recreational)
  • South Dakota: July 2021 (Medical)

For more information on what state marijuana laws are already in place in the U.S., check out the What Marijuana Legalization Means for You infographic. Remember – marijuana is prohibited for Active and Reserve Component members, so steer clear of products that may have marijuana in them to protect your career.

June 15, 2021
Driving under any influence is not the answer.

You might think driving under the influence just means driving after drinking alcohol. However, a recent study reported that more people are driving while under the influence of marijuana, opioids and other illicit drugs and it’s causing more deaths behind the wheel. Protect yourself and your career by not using prohibited drugs like marijuana, steering clear of illicit drugs and only using your prescription drugs as directed by your health care provider. Remember – you are responsible for your actions.

June 15, 2021
Recreational drug use can cause early onset heart issues in people under age 40.

A recent study shows that people who recreationally use illicit drugs (especially cannabis and amphetamines, which are a type of stimulant) may be three times more likely to experience early onset heart or blood vessel issues which may lead to heart attack or stroke. The study specifically found a higher association between recreational drug use and early issues in women than men. Protect what you care about so that risky drug use doesn’t negatively impact your health, career or relationships.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.