24 April 2013
American History pd. 7
Effects from Drug Use During the Vietnam War
“When you get up there in those early hours, you want the klunck you’re flying with to be able to snap to. He’s a lot more likely to be fresh if he smokes grass the night before than if he was juiced,” said one Air Force Officer. Although many officials didn’t authorize the use of marijuana, most saw around the soldiers getting high. Since the military officials understood the circumstances, they didn’t want to look at the facts because it would allow their soldiers to keep fighting. The Vietnam War lead many soldiers to rely on the high they experienced from multiple drugs like opium, marijuana and heroin. Lower-ranking military personnel in Vietnam had one goal, and that goal was to stay alive for one year and then return home. Men would smoke easily accessible and cheap drugs to have their surroundings numb around them the higher they got. Many of the soldiers were young boys that grew up on farms; they were lonely making it easy to turn to drugs. They would medicate themselves with the luxuries of highs that various toxin drugs offered them.
At the beginning of the war opium was the top drug in Vietnam. Opium is defined as a reddish brown heavy scented addictive drug prepared from the opium poppy, used as a narcotic and in medicine as an analgese (Dictionary.com). Soon after the young soldiers arrival they began to experiment with opium. Average cost of opium was $1.00 during the year 1967. Young and naïve soldiers accommodated a nickname to opium; “O.J.” was used to reference “opium joints”. But soon enough the marijuana stole the popularity of opium.
Soldiers were aware that in Vietnam marijuana was a common thing and was used openly. Marijuana was so well known in Vietnam that you could see fields and fields of the plant growing in the wild. They began using marijuana in Vietnam in 1963 before it became well known in the...