- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Marine Corps is conducting random drug testing at one base in North Carolina because of reports that personnel there are using the hallucinogenic drug lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD.

The 2nd Marine Division in Jacksonville, North Carolina, has conducted nearly 4,000 random tests for LSD since the start of the summer.

Maj. Gen. Francis L. Donovan, the division commander, said the recent rise in LSD use among sailors and Marines on the base has prompted them to change how they test for illegal substances.

In the past, the Department of Defense drug lab only accepted individual samples for LSD testing as part of a larger law enforcement investigation. Because of the spike in LSD use at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, random testing for LSD is now an option, officials said.

“We have a drug problem in the 2nd Marine Division,” Maj. Gen. Donovan said in a statement. “We are committed to identifying the violators of our ethos. The vast majority of Marines within the 2nd Marine Division routinely uphold our core values and they deserve to know that the Marines to their left and right are doing the same.”

Marine Corps officials said “several” troops have registered positive for LSD since the testing began. They could face non-judicial punishment, a dishonorable discharge or time at a military corrections facility.

“Zero tolerance is the Marine Corps’ stance and Marines need to understand that there is no drug that they can take without the means for government detection,” said Lt. Col. Christian Ruwe, the division’s staff judge advocate.

The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System (AFMES) lab in Dover, Delaware, is assisting with the large-quantity random testing because LSD screening hasn’t been a standard practice in the Marine Corps, officials said.

“At the end of the day, it’s about trust,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Christopher Rebana, command master chief for 2nd Marine Division. “I have to trust that those on my port (left) and starboard (right) are bringing their ‘A’ game, physically and mentally, and both in garrison and in combat.”

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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