Marijuana, Amphetamines, Opium and Heroin were a serious problem from 1968 onward during the Vietnam War. In 1968 50 percent of American service men used drugs, after Tet Offensive drugs rose dramatically. By 1970 that number had jump to 65 percent. Drugs were cheap and very available. They were a way for the soldiers to “escape” from the pure anxiety and stress of combat while filling the bored time.
Marijuana was the combat choice. When bought a joint would cost 5 cents, and a carton of pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes would cost about $5.00 or a trade could be made with a carton of American Smokes. Vietnamese often threw marijuana cigarettes into passing American jeeps and trucks. It was used so frequently that it became part of the Vietnam norm. .
Amphetamines were also very popular. A vile could be bought on the black market for 12 times less then it would cost in the United States. Many soldiers used Amphetamines to stay alert while on patrol or for fun at local parties. However, coming down from the drug made the soldiers edgy and extremely irritable. The come down was so bad for many service men that they felt like “Shooting all the little children in the streets,” and that’s exactly what some soldiers did. .
Opium and Heron came in 3rd place of the most used drugs. This was partly because on one wanted to be caught “nodding” during an ambush. Binges were very common during the last year of the War due to the remarkable low price and astound purity. American service men could buy a gram of 95 percent pure heron for only $2.00. In America a gram could cost $100.00 and would rarely be more than 10 percent pure. Opium was often rolled in to cigarettes and gave a similar high as heron. Opium was very addictive and was less common. However, Opium drove some Vietnam veterans to commit crimes to support their habits back in the Unites States. .
For many Americans these drugs were only used while in Vietnam.