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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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 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.

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.

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.

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.