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In 1971, Robert
Steele from Connecticut and Morgan Murphy from Illinois, two U.S. representatives, made an official visit to a war zone, Vietnam
and they got very disturbing news about the soldiers. They told that 15% of
U.S. army was addicted to heroin. This news was spread in America and everyone
was stunned. Then, president Richard
Nixon promised to make a new office called The Special Action Office of Drug
Abuse Prevention for rehabilitation from addiction.

All the
addicted soldiers were not allowed to leave Vietnam
unless they clear they drug addiction. They did not expect that soldiers will
recover so fast. Lee Robins was the main the psychiatric
researcher. Her studies
showed that when soldiers came back to U.S. 95 percent of them were clean and
without addiction.  Only 5 percent of
them were re-addicted to the heroin.

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The normal
pattern of heroin addiction is- they get clean from the clinics or rehab centers but as soon as they go to their home
they get re-addicted but Vietnam soldiers were different. The habits were
triggered in certain situations and under certain conditions and it were temporary.

How did addiction start in war?

The war is a stressed situation and they were in contact
with fellow soldiers who were addicted to heroin.
The influencing element was surrounding environment. For example- if you’re the
only person who doesn’t consume heroin and
all your surrounding people are consuming in front of you, then they start
forcing you to just try a little bit. But
ones you’re involved then it’s getting difficult
to get away from it, especially when you are in stressed situation. We get
pushed away in situations.

But once
they return to home- a place without
stress and where there is no fellow heroin user
is the suitable condition. In war, there were no family and no one to stop them
from using heroin. But at home, you are
surrounded by your loving family, friends and you don’t think about consuming
anything. So the absence of any external
stimuli also triggered the addiction.

The most important
lesson we can learn from soldiers is you can change your behavior or control yourself in the influence of external stimuli. 

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