Drugs in Vietnam:
Military Drug Use in Vietnam
The war in Vietnam greatly differed from other wars fought by the United States. In Vietnam, soldiers did not have a clear understanding of who their enemies actually were, and the conditions were much worse than previous wars that had been fought. There was no real way of telling whether they were getting closer to their goal or not, simply because their goals were not very clear. This left many soldiers feeling as though they had no purpose, and that their time spent fighting in Vietnam was meaningless. Each soldier was left on his own to cope with the pressures of an ongoing and confusing war.
No one really knew what caused the explosion of drug use in Vietnam, but it started with leaders of small units turning their heads to certain soldiers’ drug habits. Eventually the situation got out of hand, and when these leaders finally reported the drug use to higher authorities, it made the situation seem as though it had just appeared (Palmer 86-87).
Drugs are important in what did the damage in Vietnam, they revealed the “moral numbness and the sub-culture of alienation” among the soldiers. Widespread usage of drugs made it more difficult for soldiers to process the things they felt at the time, and to express their emotions later on (Shephard 353).
Many drugs were available to solders. In 1967, Opium cost $1.00 while morphine went for $5.00 per a vial. Tablets of Binoctal could be bought from Vietnamese children for $1-5.00 for 20 pills, which would be a fatal dose if taken all at once. Many soldiers took drugs and smoked marijuana who wouldn’t have done so at home. When young men, often teenagers, are placed in a strange land surrounded by real enemies, they do not need to be pushed into the habits formed by their fellow soldiers of the war, they just accepted them as a way to cope (Higher).
The widespread use of heroin in the years ahead would make the previous drug problems among...