Study Guide - Switch Chapter

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SWITCH
H OW
TO
CH ANGE
T H INGS
WHEN
CH ANGE
IS
H ARQ

CHIP HEATH and DAN HEATH

B roadway Books
N ew York

Copyright © 2010 by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. www
.crownpublishing.com

BROADWAY BOOKS

and the Broadway Books colophon

are

trademarks

of Random House, Inc.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Heath, Chip.
Switch: how to change things when change is hard / Chip Heath and Dan Heath.-lst ed.

l. Change (Psychology) I. Heath, Dan, 1973-11. Title.
BF637.C4H43 201O
303.4-dc22
2009027814
ISBN 978-0-385-52875-7
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition

9
B uild H a bits

1.
Mike Romano was born i n 1 950 and raised i n Milwaukee, the youngest of four brothers. His dad was a handyman who fixed
plumbing and heating fixtures. His mom had a commercial art
degree; she stayed at home to raise the boys, taking jobs from time to time to pay the bills.
Romano had a temper. In high school, when he was 1 8, he
got into a fight and threw a guy through a window. Afraid of what would happen in court, he enlisted in the army. He figured he was going to be drafted anyway. The court let him go.
Romano eventually ended up being assigned to the 1 73rd Air­ borne Brigade in Vietnam, an elite and well-respected unit of para­ troopers. The soldiers of the 1 73rd had an open secret, however: rampant drug use. Others nicknamed them "jumping junkies."

Coming into the military, Romano had no real drug experience. He tried to keep his nose clean with the jumping junkies.

204

S H A P E T H E PATH

A few months after he arrived in Vietnam, a Claymore land
mine detonated near him, and he was struck in his right hand, forearm, and foot. He was taken to a hospital in Camron Bay for recovery. That was where he first tried opium.
He quickly became hooked, like so many others around him.
Even when he transferred to other hospitals, his supply wasn't in­ terrupted. He mostly smoked opium-laced joints, but it was also easy to find liquid opium and even opium chewing gum (not to mention other drugs, such as LSD and marijuana) . His addic­ tion continued to torment him throughout his thirteen-month

tour of duty.
Romano's fall into drug use was a typical story during the
Vietnam War. The White House was so troubled by reports of
drug use among soldiers that it commissioned a study to investi­ gate the scope of the problem. The results were disturbing. Before the war, the typical soldier had only casual experience with hard drugs, and less than 1 percent had ever been addicted to nar­ cotics. But once in Vietnam, almost half of the soldiers tried nar­ cotics, and 20 percent became addicted. Demographics did not predict who would become drug users in Vietnam-race and

class were irrelevant.
The drug use started early. Twenty percent of all users started in their first week in Vietnam, 60 percent within the first three months. Oddly, drug use did not seem to be triggered by trauma. The researchers found no statistical relationship between drug use and the difficulty of soldiers' assignments, or the danger they faced, or the death of friends. Unlike most soldiers, Romano started using opium because he was injured. For most soldiers in Vietnam, drugs were simply a fact of life, a part of the culture. Government officials were terrified by what would hap­

pen when thousands of drug addicts began to return to
America. Military and civilian leaders worried that the country's

Build

Habits

2 05

drug-treatment programs would be flooded, stretched far beyond capacity. ThtT worried that vets might not be able to hold down jobs, that they might turn to crime.
Mike Romano was one of the people the officials were wor­
ried about. When he finally boarded his flight back to the United...
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