There are many researches which demonstrate the devasting effects of heroin have towards its users, for example, ‘A total of 60% met the criteria for a lifetime anxiety disorder, and 51% had a current anxiety disorder. A depressive disorder was diagnosed in 41% of subjects, with 30% having a current diagnosis. ‘ (Darke & Ross, 1997).
Heroin is powerful and addictive, and its users often find it very difficult to get rid of their dependence on the drug. However, a study (Robins el al, 1973), has demonstared addiction may not be as difficult to withdraw as it is commonly thought.
The study was sponsored by the US goverment and was carried out in the 1972, for invesigating the porpotion of US Veterans’ taking of drugs such as Heroin during the Vietnam War. It was important to conduct the study as there were reports of many US personel got depenent on the cheap and available drugs, and the US goverment needed the data to prepare on possible health intervention for the soliders returning to their home country.
The US goverment introduced a military program to deal with the drug abuse among troops in Vietnam, and soliders who were departing from the country were required to be interviewed and constribute urine samples which were then analysed for drugs testing. The study focused on September 1971 as the month to collect samples, and those who have been found positive with drug usage were checked up 8-12 months later.
The results has suprisingly suggested that the soliders in Vietnam had greatly descreased their intake of drugs after returning to the US, and very few have became addicted; ‘only 0.7 per cent said that they had been addicted at
any time during the eight to 12 months since their return’. The validity of the solider’s statement had been tested and confirmed by another urine test.
One possible reason to explain the result is that US troops in the Vietnam War went through very harsh experience in the foreign country, being in an hostile place where they were constantly threatened by diseases, and enermies who used effective stratgies such as bobby trap with the advantage being familar with the place and weather. A good avoident approach would be become reliance on drugs which will give them pleasurable feeling, and thus taking drugs such as Heroin. Once they returned to the US, they no longer need to be deal with being in the threatening situation. So they did not need to conduct the avoiding behaviour anymore. Furthermore, the price of Heroin was massively more expensive in the US than Vietnam, it therefore would be an financial bundle for the returned soliders.
The setting of the study is high in ecological validity, as the data were collected from real life soliders who serviced in the Vietnam War. There were little chance of the data not representing the particiapnts because despite the soliders could have lied in interviews due to social desirability, their statement were further tested by urine test. The sample size of the study is big; 943 men was involved. However, it can be challenged as being gender biased as all the data were collected from male US soliders.
S.Darke., J.Ross. (1997), Polydrug dependence and psychiatric comorbidity among heroin injectors. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Volume 48, Issue 2, p135-141.
L.N.Robins., D.H.Davis., D.W.Goodwin. (1974), Drug use by U.S. Army enlisted men in Vietnam: A follow-up on their return home. American Journal of Epidermiology. Volume 99, No. 4, p235-249.