Excerpted from filtermag.org
The Vietnam addiction experience was catalogued by Lee Robins, a professor of social science in psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, and her colleagues, in their 1977 classic study “Vietnam Veterans Three Years After Vietnam: How our study changed our view of heroin.” This is the most careful and detailed study of a group of hundreds of heroin-addicted people ever conducted.
Highlights from the article
Richard Wilbur, a physician who was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health and Environment from 1971-1973, said of this phenomenon: “Everything I learned in medical school about addiction—that someone addicted to narcotics remained hooked forever—was proved wrong.”
Most soldiers (85 percent) said they found opioids readily available to them at home—so we can discount the idea of lack of supply accounting for their mass recovery. Half did try the drugs again in the States. But even among the most vulnerable group—the previously addicted soldiers who used heroin again stateside—fewer than a third ever became re-addicted.
View the Lee Robins study: “Vietnam Veterans Three Years after Vietnam: How Our Study Changed Our View of Heroin.”