Drug Use in the Vietnam War
Drug use by the soldiers in the Vietnam War was very common. Drug use in the military has always been around, but in the Vietnam era it started to increase at an alarming rate. It is noted that there were many drugs used and abused during this time. These drugs include marijuana, cocaine, and heroine. Soldiers often used these drugs to kill the pain of many hardships such as injury during battle, loss of a fellow soldier or being away from home. Marijuana is legally considered a drug according to the federal Controlled Substances Act; however the use of it was treated differently from other drugs by American soldiers and military lawyers in Vietnam. (Brush) Marijuana was present in Vietnam long before the arrival of the Americans and the start of the war. Drug laws were poorly defined and the enforcement of these poorly defined laws had little priority in the Vietnamese criminal justice system. The Vietnamese Government had no control over marijuana and there was no central drug enforcement agency. According to a survey made in 1966 by the U.S. military command in the Saigon area showed that there were 29 fixed outlets for the purchase of marijuana. The use and culture of marijuana in Vietnam has often been considered part of the cultural regulations for use, sale, and protocol and there is no sense of illegal activity like there is in the U.S. Many American soldiers have noted that the Vietnamese people used marijuana freely and openly during the time. There are even stories of American soldiers smoking marijuana with the South Vietnamese civilians and soldiers (Brush). In 1963, soldiers started using marijuana during the advisory period of the war. This was the earliest noted time of drug use in the Vietnam War and began before the widespread use in the United States. As its popularity grew, Congressional investigations began. In 1967 an investigation by congress revealed 16 instances of marijuana use inside the...
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