Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Digger druggies

Drug addicted soldiers! Oh no, it's the Vietnam war all over again!

Young Diggers president John Jarrett said many soldiers were mainly developing addictions to cocaine, which he claimed was "cheap as chips" in Afghanistan.

"Soldiers (are) going over there, healthy and normal, and coming back with all kinds of addictions," Mr Jarrett said.

"I do know the [Australian Defence Force] is very concerned about the problem.

"We're seeing cocaine and marijuana as the major ones, but there's heroin around and all sorts of other drugs.

"Cocaine is the biggest problem though, because it's as cheap as chips."

The ADF personnel are understood to be turning to illicit substances, such as marijuana and cocaine, to medicate themselves for psychological problems that they developed overseas.

The drugs are supplied by enterprising, anything-for-a-buck types:

Mr Jarrett said it was likely the soldiers were sourcing the illicit substances from foreign troops, particularly US forces, who serve alongside them in joint operations fighting the Taliban.

Yep, selling drugs is as American as apple pie.

But what's the deal with cocaine being so cheap when Afghanistan produces something like 90% of the opium used to make heroin? It is unlikely that cocaine can be shipped half way around the world to a country saturated with opiates and be priced competitively, especially in the small quanities needed to supply the realtively small number of drug users to be found amongst allied forces serving in Afghanistan - there is drug testing, after all.

And contrary to Mr Jarrett's claim, the military is not worried about a drug problem:

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) refutes claims in the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Mail Brisbane that members of the ADF are using illicit drugs while deployed on tours of duty in Afghanistan and are returning home addicted.

The ADF had recently provided detailed responses to the journalists responsible for this article and deplores the fact that they chose to omit much of the information provided to them in search of a headline.
The ADF has conducted Prohibited Substance Testing in Afghanistan since 2005.
Since testing commenced all test results for members of the ADF deployed on operations in Afghanistan have been negative.

Scandal killed. By the way, the lurid tales of masses of psychologically-scarred, drug-addicted Vietnam veterans didn't pan out either.


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