Readers in Minnesota know that there have been a slew of new laws surrounding synthetic drugs being passed. In 2011, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency banned many types of synthetic drugs and in 2012, a national bill that outlawed many other types of synthetic drugs became law. What these regulations and laws do, however, is focus on specific synthetic compounds, many of which can be replaced with something else, causing confusion among law enforcement about just who is illegally using bath salts.
Now the Navy has taken up the fight against bath salts by creating a horrific and disturbing public service announcement depicting what it says is a seaman high on bath salts. It is not entirely clear if the individual who ingested the drug at the beginning of the video was using an illegal substance, but the Navy made sure that whoever watched the video would come to the conclusion they wanted: synthetic drugs are a horrible idea.
In the Navy, if a seaman screens positive for synthetic compounds, he or she may be discharged. For a career-sailor, this could mean that he or she will be booted out of the military after years of service yet well-short of retirement. Though it is clear that not everyone who has tested positive for synthetic drugs will be expelled from the military, it is not certain what the criteria is for expulsion or even if the Navy considers legal versus illegal synthetic drugs before making its decision.
So, how does this apply to Minnesotans? Well, the Navy is like any other employer; Minnesotans can lose their jobs if they test positive for a substance that their employer finds objectionable, even if it is legal. And, since employers are not held to the high standard of evidence and burden of proof to which a criminal court is held, employers need not even be sure that someone testing positive for a synthetic drug knowingly took the substance.
Source: Time, “U.S. Navy PSA Shows Demonic Dangers of Bath Salts,” Melissa Locker, Jan. 4, 2013
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