Tag Archives: drugs

Drugs And Troops In Afghanistan

One of the recurring nightmares of the Vietnam War was entrapping thousands of American soldiers in the clutches of drugs. A new report from Canada raises issues concerning how being in Afghanistan will impact its nation’s soldiers in regard to the use or sale of drugs. “Access to illicit drugs in Afghanistan is routine,” reads the report. “Easy access to heroin, hashish, cannabis presents a temptation for (Canadian) troops in the form of personal use and in the form of importation for the purpose of trafficking.” The war in Afghanistan is one in which brutality becomes the norm, in which planes drop bombs on “terrorists” and in the process kill innocent civilians which requires finding explanations for killing the innocent as well as the guilty.

We inhabit a world in which both selling and using drugs have become normal activities in even the most middle class neighborhoods as well as among those in poverty. The report indicates as of this point there is no widespread Canadian use of drugs, but the future is less clear. Why assume that soldiers are not subject to temptation of money?

British Tourists Warned To Behave In Muslim Nations

The British government is issuing strong warnings to holiday travelers in Muslim societies to be careful on their behavior in public and to avoid kissing in public or engaging in extra-marital affairs in a strongly religious world in which women who dress in sexually revealing clothes may run afoul of authorities. The number of Britons going to Egypt has increased by 38% and to Turkey by 32% as people seek to leave European Union nations in search of countries where the pound will allow a better financial aspect. Warnings about modesty are also being given to those who visit Malaysia or even the Kenyan coast of Africa. Most Muslim nations have strict anti-drug laws and frown upon excessive drinking of alcohol in public.

As the British economy slows down and more people either lose their jobs or see a reduction in pay, the prospect of vacationing in low cost nations, many of which are Muslim, seems more attractive. It is one thing to go on a drunken binge in France, and another to do so in the United Arab Emirate. Last year the Foreign Office helped 75,000 British tourists who encountered difficulty in the country they thought would be a pleasant are in which to vacation. Ironically, the global meltdown will assist low cost Muslim societies in attracting tourists.

New Zealand Concerned Over Gang Violence

New Zealand authorities are concerned over outbreaks of gang violence in many parts of the nation. The latest incident was the arrest of five members of the Mongrel gang after they had a stand off in the streets with members of other gangs. As is so usual in these cases, the issue was over which gang will control the local drug trade. Some New Zealand mayors are comparing gang violence in their cities as akin to the situation in Zimbabwe, which is undoubtedly a rather extreme exaggeration. Greg O’Connor, president of the Police Association, says there is need for a coordination national program to smash the gangs, but some mayors want to create local police chiefs who would focus on crime in their cities.

Mr. O’Connor says it is not enough to get rid of street thugs, but there must be an effort to “knock off the top of the pyramid.” The New Zealand concerns are those shared by many countries in which drugs are illegal. Perhaps, it is time to reconsider the entire issue of making drugs illegal and explore alternatives of legal drugs that are under the control of the national government. As long as drugs are illegal, there will be illegal gangs vying for power over the monies connected with selling illegal drugs.

Iran Fights Against Drug Smugglers

President Bush has continually made known his dislike of drugs and his desire to wipe out drug smugglers in the Middle East. Ironically, his number one enemy, Iran, shares his views on drugs and is among the leaders in dealing with drug smuggling in the region. A UN official, Roberto Arbitrio, described Iran’s work in dealing with drug trafficking as among the “most exceptional(efforts) in the world.” The Iranian government is particularly upset at failure of the United States to curb drug lords in Afghanistan who prey on the youth of Iran. Ebrahim Neukunam, an Iranian member of parliament who deals with drug issues noted, “the presence of the occupying forces, headed by the United States and Britain in Afghanistan has not reduced drug cultivation but it is increasing every year.”

Last year Iran seized 900 tons of opium that crossed its border from Afghanistan and the government estimates about another 1,000 tons was consumed within its borders by drug users who probably number about two million. Perhaps, the United States and Iran could create a joint force to deal with drug smugglers. This might prove to each nation they can cooperate in dealing with Middle Eastern issues.

Thai Investigation Reveals Anti-Drug Campaign Horror

A new study by the government of Thailand reveals during the period of January-Februry, 2003, the administration of Thaskin Shinawatra instituted an anti-drug campaign which resulted in the deaths of at least 2,500 people. The program supposedly was set in motion in order to meet UN hopes for an effective approach to dealing with drugs that would be humane and respect individual rights. Instead, according to a source which is part of the current study, “those who implemented the order though they could do whatever it took to meet the target which was to reduce to drug traffickers.” It is estimated at least 1,400 of the deaths had nothing to do with reducing drugs but were linked to local police officers who simply were aiming at meeting target figures more than eliminating drugs in Thailand.

The war on drugs is among the most ineffective ever waged in the history of humankind. There are thousands of drugs which are legal and some which are not illegal. Historically, humans have been using drugs for a variety of reasons, but the 20th century has been characterized by an aimless program which repeatedly fails and invariably results in drug lords becoming wealthier. The aim of an effective drug program should be through education and other incentives to enable individuals to make decisions that would lead them not to use harmful drugs.

Marine Corps Commander Issues Order About PTS

General James Conway, head of the Marine Corps, issued a directive requiring medical officials to screen marines returning from combat for any signs of post traumatic stress, particularly if their behavior makes a sudden change for the worse. His order states: “Post-deployment misconduct, especially a Marine who previously served honorably, must be considered a possible indicator of an undiagnosed stress injury or a mild traumatic brain injury that if confirmed deserves immediate and comprehensive treatment.” The order appears to regard sudden switches from normal behavior to extensive use of drugs or alcohol as indicators the marine is suffering from effective of extensive combat duty.

Last year, there were reports members of the military who received less than honorable discharges were being denied medical treatment by the Veterans Administration. Conway’s order is a welcome change from the prevailing indifference to effects of combat on men who fought and can not shake off the horrors of being under fire. Hopefully, other branches of the military will copy the Conway directive.