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What are the herion addiction statistics for US Soldiers in Afghanistan?

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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:12 PM
Original message
What are the herion addiction statistics for US Soldiers in Afghanistan?
This has been on my mind for a couple of days.

Invariably, drugs follow the US military. In this case Afghanistan is biggest manufacturer and exporter of heroin. This is a shift from the old ways of doing things where they grew the poppies and exported the opium and hashish. The Army has found itself in the motherland of heroin. Given that the heroin is readily available and cheap, with morale down, is the US Army seeing a growing problem with this wicked addiction?

Follow on question: Is drug use the reason that the Taliban were able to sneak up on the outposts?
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. Now THAT is a great question...
I wonder if anyone has done research on those stats, cause you KNOW it's true.
BHN
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. I connected the dots a few days ago. I spent many yrs in Ger during Vietnam and Afghan gold hashish
and opium were readily available. The Vietnam vets would spend their last month or two serving out there draft terms and almost all were addicted to either drugs or alcohol. It began to look like the supply was "winked" at by the Germans to keep the vets from going crazy until they went back the to US.

We have a bunch of young folks with low morale and no clear goal and a lot of heroin in that place.
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Not very much on the net about it, but I did find one article addressing it.
Link below-
BHN
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Oregone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. The military has the best in the brightest. The B & B would never do drugs
They are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight the haters of our freedom here. I have a questions for YOU.....do you support the troops?!? Is that what this is about? You question them when our sons and daughters are laying down their lives for your freedom, which isn't free mind you!

It is now 2001 again.
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theoldman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Your post sounds like someone who has their mind closed to reality.
Did you ever spend any time in the military like I have?
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Oregone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Thats what I was shooting for
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. Low morale and cheap drugs are facts. Vietnam draftees didn't intend to get hooked, they just
wanted some relief from the anxiety.
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Bobbieo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
3. It has been on my mind for some time now - scary thought and what happens
when we bring them home?
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theoldman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
4. Drug use was not the problem in the outposts.
It was their location in a valley. This is a no no during a war. You take the high ground, not the low ground. As far as the drug use, I agree with your speculation. When you are stressed out you need to relax and drugs are the common outlet.
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Bobbieo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. I thought the US was pushing opium on the Russians when the Soviets
were in Afghanistan.
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. That's the cover story. What I know is that the insurgents got close enough to use small arms and
RPGs ... that's too close. What happened that night in the foxholes we'll never know.

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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
5. I don't think that has been a problem, which IS surprising if it's true considering where they are
But then, they are all probably piss tested every week.

Trafficking heroin, particularly by our wonderful mercenary proxy forces, THAT's a more likely problem. I would be STUNNED if that weren't going on a massive scale.
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JonLP24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. Not in theatre
I was only pissed tested once(random monthly UA of 10% of the Unit) the entire time spent in Iraq. While back home our unit was piss tested on a usual weekly basis of a random 10% of the unit. They can only do 100% of the unit UAs two times a year.
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. I can only guess, but from the periodicity of the test
Edited on Fri Oct-09-09 05:43 PM by kenny blankenship
it would seem to "lookback" pretty far.

Also, a 1 in 10 chance of being tested any given month would be enough to deter me from thinking about recreational drug use.

It could be as other posters have suggested, that data on a drug use problem is simply lagging, or just not escaping from the Army informational warfare dept. But I think the Army has planned extensively to prevent that kind of problem, like it famously had in VN, from getting started.

Now on the other hand, for mercenaries all bets are off. If they weren't shipping tonnage of heroin out of Af-pak, I'd be staggered.
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JonLP24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. It was actually pretty dry
Edited on Fri Oct-09-09 05:49 PM by JonLP24
Alcohol was scarce and expensive.

About civilian agencies or contractors... human trafficking is a problem with them and we all as soldiers had to pass a class on what human trafficking is, how they spot it, and alert it, etc.

They're so many TCN(Third Country Nationals) that do the majority of the construction, clean and empty the latrines, and do delivery missions(I was an 88M) and for really low wages. They're often the victim of human trafficking as well.

Edited to add/ Point is at least in Afghanistan I wouldn't put heroin trafficking past them.
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. You know they have lowered the enlistment standards to the old "thumping heart" criteria
It's a different, low morale Army nowadays.
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JonLP24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. I'm only a year and 2 months out
And it was pretty low overall when I was there. I have friends currently over there on their 5th tour and a friend from Corona, CA was recently backdoor drafted(He finished his 4 years but called him back for another tour). My experience in Iraq is 7/27/06-7/30/07.
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
6. Found an article from 2007 on the problem- link
"Experts think it could be a decade before the true scope of heroin use in Iraq and Afghanistan is known. Dr. Jodie Trafton, a healthcare specialist with the VA's Center for Health Care Evaluation in Palo Alto, Calif., says it takes five or 10 years after a conflict for veterans to enter the system in significant numbers. The VA has recently seen a surge in cases from the first U.S. war in Iraq. "We're just starting to get a lot of Gulf War veterans," she explains. For the first few years after a conflict, it's hard to gauge the number of soldiers who've developed a substance problem. Young soldiers especially, says Dr. Trafton, tend not to seek treatment unless pushed by family members. Left to their own devices, "usually people don't show up for treatment till much later."

http://www.nationinstitute.org/ifunds/15/it_s_easy_for_...

There's also a good article on the number of troops addicted to prescription pain killers.

BHN
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
11. I think you're on to something.
Any time you put soldiers in a far away hell hole with life barely liveable, you occupy a country a long time, you will see soldiers tapping into the local drug trade. That exposes them and others to intel and operational dangers.
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Brooklyns_Finest Donating Member (747 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
14. Line Unit
I was a part of a line unit in Iraq back in 2003. Trust me, for 99.9% of the troops, survival is the number one priority. Taking drugs in combat is not conducive to this. I don't think any Marine or Soldier sitting on top of a hill in afghanistan would risk their lives taking drugs while under the threat of attack by the Taliban. I think Platoon and Apocalypse now were great movies, but the modern American military is not the way it was back in the 60's and 70's.

Now, those air force guys who are permanently stationed on base are a whole other story.
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. In 2003 you had a mission, 2009 they have no definition of a mission. As I said, the 19 yr old
draftees went to fight a war. They did not go to get hooked on drugs. Low morale and cheap drugs are a dangerous mixture.
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JonLP24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. I never been to Afghanistan myself so I don't know if they're hooking up with heroin
I doubt it though.

I was in Iraq and while you could find drugs (I never did except for the one time when a few of my buddies smoked a joint he smuggled from leave) they were extremely high priced.

However if you could find the 'right' TCN he can hook up with a water bottle of extremely nasty liquor that ranges from $60-$100(sometimes more or less) or you can find other people who had their wives or girlfriends send them alcohol in peroxide bottles or something else creative.
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Brooklyns_Finest Donating Member (747 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #21
26. Nothing
We were not able to do anything out of the ordinary while we were in Iraq. Maybe it is because we were there in the beginning of the war, but everything we did was strictly regulated. Shit, they wanted to take away our nudie magazines because they were afraid that it might offend the iraqi people.

Like i said earlier, the only people I see likely to be doing any kind of drugs are the garrison troops who have nothing better to do.

Shit, I don't know why people join the military if you just want to be a desk jockey.
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JonLP24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. We weren't allowed to have nudes either
People did have them but during health and welfare inspections people would get caught. Though some people were smart and renamed the files on their computer so they wouldn't have XXX sounding names.

People weren't allowed to drink alcohol either because of the majority of Middle Eastern or Southwest Asia countries have alcohol banned except for Qatar which from what I learned other units had everyone have a pass while our unit only awarded the high miler(88M) a pass to Qatar.

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Brooklyns_Finest Donating Member (747 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. My Best Friend
Is a Company commander of an infantry unit stationed out of a base in California (I'm not saying which). I am out of the Corp now, but he tells me a lot of what is going on with his unit. He has a lot of stories that would make your head turn. Drug use is not one of them. Well, at least not while they were deployed in Afghanistan.

Until I see concrete evidence of this, I am not buying these allegations.
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. It's a question with supporting circumstatial evidence that the Army is not talking about.
The addiction in the Afghani population is bad and a new development after our arrival. The drugs are there and they are cheap.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
16. The real heroin problem from afghanistan is in Russia
Easy transport overland, dirt cheap prices, it's flooded the streets there.

Which a big reason Russia is buddying up to us on Afghanistan now.
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. For the soldiers in Afgnanistan the situation is NO TRANSPORT required and even cheaper prices
Also, the warlords would be in favor of doping the troops. Like all good pushers, the first hit is free.
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