Using illicit drugs while at war was certainly an issue during the Vietnam War. It appears to be a problem now in Afghanistan too.
In the past two years the US Army has investigated 56 soldiers for drug use and eight soldiers have overdosed during this time period. This according to the Daily Mail.
The U.S. Army says that while the presence of readily available opium - the raw ingredient for heroin - is a concern, opiate abuse has not been an extensive problem for troops in Afghanistan.
While the Army claims drugs are not a problem, the president of conservative watchdog Judicial Watch said the problem is bigger than the military is prepared to admit.
Statistics released earlier this year reported nearly 70,000 drug offenses by roughly 36,000 soldiers between 2006 and 2011. The number of offenses increased from about 9,400 in 2010 to about 11,200 in 2011.
With the extreme stress of the situation it is no wonder troops look to get high. But given the even more extreme danger they must stay at 100% in order to deal effectively with their situation.
It does not help that young Afghans peddling heroin, soldiers dying after mixing cocktails of opiates, troops stealing from medical bags and Afghan soldiers and police dealing drugs to their U.S. comrades.
Random drug testing on the troops may be the answer. The Army claims they aim to test each soldier once per year. While they are not living up to their goal now, they home to do so in the future.
I hate to see people committing virtual suicide. Given the extremely dangerous environment soldiers are playing with death if they get intoxicated. I would like to see the Army implement mandatory drug classes for all active-duty military personnel.