Letters to the Editor

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MILITARY: Are troops being overmedicated?

Letter by Sharon L. Hodgins, Lake Tapps on April 17, 2012 at 9:07 am with 12 Comments »
April 17, 2012 10:51 am

How can we convict Sgt. Robert Bales of killing 17 Afghan villagers? He was obviously not in his “right mind,” given the fact that the Army makes readily available all kinds of drugs to keep the troops from being depressed and stressed and allowing them some kind of sleep. Mixing them with alcohol, as apparently Bales did, could have led to his death.

I am appalled that we are making drug-dependent people upon leaving the Army; that happened in Vietnam and is obviously happening now. Shame on us.

We need to reinstitute the draft. I bet there will then be fewer unwinnable wars. We have yet to learn the lessons of history.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. BlaineCGarver says:

    You do grave error when you paint our military like this. Addiction is at record levels all across the nation. In countries where opiate based pills are sold OTC, addiction isn’t a fraction of what it is here….

  2. dankuykendall says:

    I am appalled that we are making drug-dependent people upon leaving the Army; that happened in Vietnam and is obviously happening now.

    You have no idea what you are talking about. After Vietnam there were no drugs handed out as the problem was swept under the rug for years. It was not until the advent of SSRIs that meds were really pushed on troops.

  3. In countries where opiate based pills are sold OTC, addiction isn’t a fraction of what it is here….

    And yet we continue our “war on drugs”…..

    Heroin use increased in America during Vietnam, Cocaine increased during Iran-Conta, Heroin is on the rise during Afghanistan. There is a connection – not just our soldiers having access while on deployment, the CIA funding their ops by selling drugs stateside.

  4. concernedtacoma7 says:

    BB- I have never heard of servicemen shooting up/smoking heroin on deployment to Afghanistan. Today’s military is drug tested often, including deployments. Iran contra did not involve regular servicemen, not sure how you can link coke to that either (before my time but I look forward to your information).

    Do you have a tin foil hat on right now?

    Sharon- after you sign up, your kids and all military age relatives, I will support you in your bid for a draft.

  5. So the solution to the “drug addiction” that the military is responsible for, according to Sharon, is to institute a draft? So that we get MORE drug addiction?? The letter writer has failed logic. And concerned? We agree on one point – she needs to sign up herself and her kids and all military aged relatives before she signs up everyone else’s kids.

  6. Frankenchrist says:

    Sharon,

    The Army does not “make readily available all kinds of drugs to keep the troops from being depressed and stressed and allowing them some kind of sleep.”

    I agree that we need a draft. It’s about time some Republicans served.

  7. ct7 –

    “Lots of soldiers coming back from Iraq have been using drugs,” said Specialist William Swenson, who was deployed to Iraq from Fort Carson. “Right when we got back there were people using cocaine in the barracks, there were people smoking marijuana at strip clubs; one guy started shooting up,” he said.
    http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,156956,00.html

    Heroin Use Back on the Rise

    A very popular drug in the 60s and 70s, heroin is finding its popularity growing once again. This time, it is appealing to younger children in suburban areas, according to an IndyStar article. The trend has been noted by police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, coroners and treatment centers.
    http://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/drug-abuse-addiction/heroin-use-back-on-the-rise/

    Regarding Iran/Contra and Cocaine see this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb#Supporters_and_Corroboration

  8. concernedtacoma7 says:

    2007? And the article goes on to show that if you use drugs you get kicked out. You are dealing with mainly 18-22 year old kids. Drugs is not a big shock. You miss some obvious contributing factors like age, marraiges falling apart because of the age, and coming home with more money then they ever had before (hence the stripclub line in the article).

    The spotlighted SPC spent 2 tours based in Kuwait. Do not ask anyone who has deployed to feel for him.

  9. ridiculous letter. bales murdered 17 human beings in cold blood. on foreign soil. he should be executed on GP, if the U.S. wishes to continue to be taken seriously & as trustworthy on the world stage. i could care less what mental deficiencies dude might procured have at this point in time. we look like savages who condone the killings if we dont do it. have some shame, it’s healthy.
    i agree that a draft would be wise and that war does bad things to people. the reason is that we as citizens dont want our brothers and sisters to be ravaged by the reality that is front-line warfare, so we might be reserved in our thirst for conflict. with 1% of our population going to war, it doesnt really hit home 4 ppl. so we end up with perpetual war…

  10. I prefer the concept of mandatory two-year Federal Service for all between the ages of 18 and 21 which would include the things like the Peace Corps or its domestic equivalents such as a reformed Civilian Conservation/construction Corp, Red Cross volunteer, and the Military.

  11. Historical side note: One of the reasons France did so poorly in post WWII conflicts was that French Law prohibited sending draftees overseas unless they individually requested such assignments.

  12. Dankuy;
    During and after Viet Nam the drugs of choice in the military were mainly pot and heroin.

    Today the problem is OTC and prescription pain pills (often provided by unit medical personal) and mixed with alcohol.

    Here’s another one of my historical side stories that will fly right over Aislanders head.

    During the Civil War, opium was widely used to reduce pain, especially in the Union Army. Which lead to a very high level of addiction among Union veterans. So high that most towns and cities had places that provided Union veterans with free opium.

    In fact, heroin was developed in part to counter opium addiction in much the same way methadone is now used to counter heroin addiction.

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