U.S. Soldiers and Drug Abuse Term Paper

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U.S. Soldiers and Drug abuse

Wars always have numerous things in common regardless of the time and place where they occurred. No matter how great the victory of one of the parties, there are always major losses for both sides. These losses are to be found at all levels, material, financial, and more importantly, at human level. The people who get killed on the one hand and the soldiers on the other hand represent a painful reality of wars.

While a lot of soldiers either get hurt or killed during the armed conflicts, there is an important number of soldiers who get the chance to go back home. They are seen as survivors, tough men, and at times, even as heroes. But what becomes of them once the battle is over?

One of the problems that occurred during the period of the Vietnam was is represented by drug abuse. The root of the problem is to be sought in the availability of the illicit substances. More than half of the soldiers used marijuana, opium, heroine and amphetamines as they were easy to be found and had a very low price.

The reasons for drug consumption are easy to understand, the young people fighting wanted to escape the fear, the stress and the anxiety, and it was the best leisure for the intervals when nothing happened. Taking into consideration the fierce stress they were subjected to, one can easily understand why they would look for an escape.The problem is all the more complex as the soldiers became addicted and took their addiction back home.

One could argue that this was the situation in the 60's and that things have changed. Things may have become different from numerous point-of-view, but the stress of the was is the same for the people directly involved. This is why it is worth bringing into discussing a present social reality, the drug use amongst young American soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The soldiers fighting in Vietnam faced numerous problems. They were in a hostile environment, unfamiliar, they had to get accustomed to a completely new reality. In addition to that, they were under a tremendous pressure because they needed to gain field. Victory was the most important thing, but the issue was not simple at all.

The confusion regarding the new environment and what they were fighting against was doubled by the confusion regarding the allies. In addition, the role that had to be assumed was another problematic key aspect. All in all, it could be stated that there was enough to psychological pressure to push the young soldiers into taking drugs.

Another factor that contributed to the creation of this situation was represented by the availability of the drugs. First and foremost, it must be stated that one could easily find any drug he pleased. Secondly, the price of the drugs was not a problem, therefore, as it was normal to happen, availability led to addiction.

As far as the type of drugs which were used is concerned, cocaine was among the most popular one. It was not however, the only one to be bought. Opiates were also frequent, followed by sedatives and stimulants. Sedatives were used in order to block the physical pain. But this was a tricky solution, because it proved to be functioning only on a shirt term basis. When they stopped having the desired effect, the affected person tried something else, usually a stronger substance. This was a sure path to addiction and nobody seemed to care.

Marijuana was another drug that enjoyed popularity among the soldiers fighting in Vietnam. Veterans confessed about using it for more than ten years. The use of opiates was of about nine years, while the use of cocaine ranged between 9 and 11 years. This interval was enough to ruin their lives and make sure that they would end up homeless or dead.

Research has been done in the area and the results have shown that more than half of the ones using drugs did not manage to stop (the percentage is as high as 67). In the case of marijuana, the percentage is smaller (52), but is still big, representing half of the people taking part to the research.

Another factor that should be taken into consideration is represented by the fact that these people do not seek professional help. It thus becomes an even more challenging problem at social level. There are two main parties which have a huge responsibility in this field. One is the army, which is obviously not doing enough in order to diminish the phenomenon, which still exists today. The second party is represented by the organized civil society that, with the help of the government, ought to attend this pregnant issue represented by the veterans who came out of the war with a drug addiction.

While the soldiers did what they were supposed to do, it seemed that the army did not worry too much about the potential danger of drug use. Nobody cared about the lives of the soldiers who used drugs after they would come back home.

Just as the young people who fought in Vietnam, nowadays soldiers often become consumers of illicit substances. Cocaine is the most popular drug, due to its properties (its capacity to give one energy, boosting the self-confidence and making you feel good). Besides the bombs and the guns, fear is one of the greatest enemies on the battle front. Drugs such as cocaine prove to be a helpful ally. Soldiers have spoken about their drug use, such as in the case of the ones servicing at Fort Carson.

Methamphetamines are also used in order to escape depression, nightmares, etc. while not of the soldiers come back having a drug addiction, the post traumatic depression and the stress push them into self-medication with substances that eventually turn them into addicts.

Drug addiction among soldiers and veterans is a big issue. When soldiers in combat use drugs, one may have to wonder about the efficacy of their actions. The issue becomes even more poignant when it is the veterans who need to deal with an addiction. It is already difficult for veterans to reintegrate after coming back home. It was especially hard for the ones who fought in Vietnam. While they were fighting for their country, people who had the same age and stayed home got jobs, started building up a career and set up families.

The veteran came home and had to start over, having difficulty in finding jobs and setting up happy families because they carried the burden of what they had seen and done. Post traumatic stress is one of the symptoms that are met in the majority of people who have fought in a war. Studies have shown that veterans have more numerous arguments in their families than people who have not had to face the reality of war.

Taking into account all these pieces of information, it is obvious that veterans already had a hard time reintegrating and creating a life for themselves within the borders of "normality." Drug addiction made things ever harder. Veterans have testified that it was impossible for the to find a decent job because they did not own an apartment. At the same time, without an income, it was impossible to buy that apartment.

Alone, depressed and with no future perspective, many veterans choose to kill themselves. Others become homeless. Numbers show that one out of four homeless people in the America nowadays is a veteran. If they don't live on the streets, they go to social shelters.

Under these circumstances, drugs may seem the only refuge. The addiction gets deeper, the drugs which are chosen become heavier and the veterans end up either dead or unable to take care of themselves. Studies have reported that many of them do not even seek help within the official programs regarding their addiction. All, in all, they represent a serious social problem that needs to be dealt with.

If a soldier is tested and found to be using illicit substances, he is discharged. Officials from the Army Center for Substance Abuse Program have declared than percentages of soldiers in Iraq who have used drugs are extremely small and that the army is not facing a problem regarding the use of illicit substances. Reports from the Veterans Health Administration speak of several thousands of use and addiction cases.

Drugs and alcohol are a problem the army is confronted with. The soldiers who are the most exposed are the very young ones (in their 20s). Cocaine is not the only drug that the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan use. Marijuana, hashish are also frequent. A third type of drugs is represented by the ones such as Valium and the prescription ones which are taken for physical and/or mental pain. It is very unlikely for a soldier in combat to avoid pain, either physical or mental. It is thus safe to say that the danger… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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