Addiction in the Ranks, Soldiers and Heroin
Opiate use is on the rise in the military as the US investigates the deaths of 8 soldiers who died of overdoses.
A report by the United States Army, covered by CNN, reveals investigations into 56 soldiers, including the eight who overdosed, under suspicion of possession, using or distributing Heroin or other opiates. These incidence, which took place in 2010 and 2011, highlight the sharp increase in heroin use amongst soldiers.
In the 2002 fiscal year, the Army had 10 instances of a soldier testing positive for heroin. That number grew to 116 in 2010. Soldiers have reportedly bought the drug from interpreters, Afghan juveniles and a former Defense Department contractor who was later fired.
The rise in Opiate use may be due in part to the location of US troops. Afghanistan is estimated to supply 90% of the world’s opium. The vast fields of poppies that are used to make heroin fuel the Afghan economy which makes any war on drugs very controversial. This also makes access to heroin and other drugs very easy for soldiers.
One of the soldiers killed by an overdose was able to purchase heroin just outside of his base. Another soldier overdosed after buying heroin and Xanax from multiple locations inside his camp. The Army report also found that soldiers distributed heroin, Percocet and other drugs amongst themselves.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, the company that initially brought the report to light, said, "You never want to see news of soldiers dying of drug use in Afghanistan. Our concern is, will the military treat this as the problem that it is, and are the families of the soldiers aware of the added risk in this drug-infested country?”
"There is a dotted line between the uses. Prescription abuse can easily veer into heroin drug use," Fitton added. "Afghanistan is the capital of this opiate production and the temptation is great there and the opportunity for drug use all the more."Continued on the next page