Essay: Drug use among U.S forces in Vietnam

By | April 28, 2011

Sample Essay

The use of drug among American soldiers is not a new case, in the year 1898 the American forces acquired control of Philippines to suppress the guerilla uprisings and this was the first time when the American soldiers learned to smoke opium. The drug addiction between the American soldiers was escalating at a very high pace, so and so that in the year 1903 a meeting was called by the American pharmaceutical association to find the reason behind it. This drug addiction did not left the American soldier’s and the next time when they entered Vietnam for a similar kind of an operation the drug use became epidemic. According to the author “The single most important cause of the transformation was the decline in iatrogenic opiate addiction (Courtwright 110).

This time the drug of which the American became addicted was marijuana. Before the arrival of the American forces marijuana was very much present in Vietnam. Experts believe that the reason why the American became so much addictive of this drug is because in that part of the world drug was not very well defined and the punishment of using drug was not given much priority in their criminal justice. The government had little influence over the proliferation of marijuana which made it very easily accessible. A survey which was conducted in 1966 showed that at that point of time only in Saigon there were 29 outlets where marijuana was easily available (Prugh).

The American soldiers started using marijuana even before the war broke through as early as 1963 which was the advisory period. As we have said earlier that the marijuana was very easily available and one instance which can be quoted here just to have an idea that how much common this drug was in Vietnam can be known from that fact that some of the U.S marines were able to get this from street sellers as they used to pass through the urban areas of the country.

One thing which is of upmost importance here is that according to the American army code of conduct the use of drug was a court martial offense and a minor trace of marijuana was considered as a criminal offense. Another issue which affected the trial was the lack of crime laboratory in Vietnam and this haunted the process of punishment for the marijuana offenders. In the year 1968 crime laboratory was being placed in Vietnam which soothed the process to some extent. In the same year marijuana detecting dogs were also being brought in to search for marijuana among the soldiers (Solis). The use of drug became so much popular among the marines that in 1969 a drug treatment centre was established for the rehabilitation of the drug users of the infantry regiment.

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