My ex-BF was in the Soviet equivalent of Special Forces in Afghanistan. He said hash and opium use was a HUGE issue, for many many reasons; lack of alcohol in Afghanistan, proximity to growing/trafficking areas, and the complete despair and loneliness of the troops. The troops brought their problems back to Russia with them, too.
Soldiers tend to do anything the can… partly because there is a great deal of aiting around. Drugs are one ay of dealing with it. Usually, they don’t do harder stuff, though. I guess its one thing to be good and liquored up, and another to face the enemy while on Crack.
Military drug abuse also tends to be characterized by short periods of very heavy use. odier’s supplies of it are usually rather poor, and if you go into battle tommorow, you’re less likely to hold onto extra supplies.
I heard a story a long time ago and given what you posted maybe you could ask your BF if it is true.
As I heard it the Soviets were wondering at the higher than normal failure rates (mechanical) of their tanks. Upon investigation they found that the tank crews were drinking the transmission fluid (or hydraulic fluid or something like that). Apparently it would give you a buzz and nevermind the consequences when you aren’t sure you’ll live another day.
A friend of my parents became very addicted to heroin while serving in Vietnam. He says that it was very easy to get…which makes sense…that area of the world is known for it’s opium production.
And here’s where it gets interesting: He claims that the Vietcong would spread little packets of heroin all over the areas that would soon be occupied by American forces. They made sure heroin was impossible to avoid in a deliberate attempt to hook American soldiers. And there do seem to be a disproportionate number of Vietnam Veterans that arrived back in the states with heroin addictions.
Having served in Viet Nam, I can say there were a lot of drugs there. We used to joke that there was no drug problem in country. It only became a problem when you left. Then it was harder to get. That was a problem.
This will sound like a gross generalization, but I would estimate that between 70 to 80 percent of the enlisted personnel smoked grass and possibly as many as 50 to 60 percent of the junior officers smoked it. I could be underestimating the usage, but I doubt that I am much overestimating it.
Most of the brass were of a different generation and didn’t seem to do that much marijuana.
Now when I say “smoked it” I don’t necessarily mean they did it until they were paralized. Some just did a hit or three in the evening to help them sleep, some did a few hits to be “one of the guys,” etc. To be sure there were a few guys who picked up a joint to take the edge off the morning and continued the rest of the day taking the edge off and while not exactly rare, not everybody was like that.
If you wanted anything else you could get it and I knew military personnel in all branches that did just about everything. I remember a signals noncom that called in an artiliary and aircraft strike on an empty rice paddy so he and some friends could watch the light show while on LSD. To maintain his validity he even turned in a body count afterwards.
The packets of heroin left by the VC, basically crap. I know I never heard of it happening and that is one of the things that would have gotten around. And get real, nobody (even stoned) was stupid enough in a war zone to use anything left around by the enemy. Besides, if you wanted heroin, you could get it at virtually any of the shops in the nearest town.