G's, drugs, and military 'ustice'
By ALAN LENHOFF
Second of two parts
(Editor's note: Bill Davis is an
American serviceman currently
serving a one year sentence in an
Arnmy jail in Vietnam foe possession
of drugs. He has agreed to tell his
story to The Daily through letters -
he wrote to his family while in the
W HILE GOVERNMENT of-
ficials claim they are
working hard tn Vietnam to
help American GI's tackle their
drug addiction problems, Bill
Davis disagrees vehemently.
Reierring to toe government's
short-lived "amnesty-cure" pro-
gram for drug abusers, he says:
"As much as they claim to want
to help the dope addict, and not
prosecute him, the population of
LBJ (the Long Binh Jail) is
steadily climbing-filling with all
sorts of unprosecuted brothers."
Certainly, the government's
"amnesty" program has been no
answer to drug abuse problems.
Last month, eight former service-
men told the Senate Veterans' Af-
fairs Committee that soldiers are
highly distrustful of the program
and will not expose themselves
willingly to the possibility of a
jail sentence or a dishonorable
Apparently, they have good
reason to be suspicious of the
program. For example, several
weeks ago, soldiers in Can Tho
(near the Mekong Delta) were
given a 72-hour amnesty period,
which was immediately fol-
lowed by what became perhaps
one of the largest seizures of
drugs, accompanied by the
greatest number of narcotics ar-
rests in the war.
BASICALLY, military help for
drug addicts involves throwing
them in a cell and watching them
go "cold turkey," Bill explains.
"My company commander told
me," he says, "that he feels ev-
ery addict should spend some
time in jail rather than getting a
discharge . . . The man got real-
ly excited when I told him that
about 70 per cent of his company
are smack freaks. He wasn't
willing to accept that."
Apparently, neither is the gov-
ernment. A recent junket to
Vietnam by Dr. Jerome Jaffe,
President Nixon's top drug ad-
viser, was followed by his asser-
tion that only about 4.3 per cent
of all U.S. soldiers are heroin
users (not addicts).
Jaffe's statement was based on
the results of urine tests which
are required of each service man
IT SHOULD BE obvious that
GI's who know they have to take
such a test would, if at all pos-
sible, curtail their use of heroin
a day before they are due to be
shipped back home. Despite this,
Nixon's advisers continue to cite
these statistics as "facts."
It appears that the military is
now desperately trying to down-
play the seriousness of drug
problems among G.I.'s - with
techniques vaguely reminiscent
of the late '60's when Congress-
men visiting Vietnam were herd-
ed into carefully guided tours of
selected Vietnamese hamlets in
order to convince them that "pa-
cification" programs were actu-
Several months ago, however,
Rep. Robert Steele (R-Conn.),
a member of the House Foreign
Affairs Committee, returned
from a Vietnam trip and estimat-
ed that between 15 and 20 per
cent of the American GI's in
Vietnam are heroin addicts.
S I G N I F I C A N T L Y, as
Bill points out, the Army Medical
Corps in Vietnam has not seen it
fit to release statistics on medi-
cal records of U.S. servicemen
--a move which would certainly
give a clue to the true magnitude
of the drug problem there.
Bill is also contemptuous of the
government's constant assertion
that the problems with heroin
in Vietnam today are due to the
fact that the military was too
lenient with marijuana in the
"Unfortunately, this is not the
case," Bill retorts. "The main
reason there is a problem with
heroin in Vietnam today is be-
cause of the prosecution and per-
secution of heads in regard to the
use of marijuana. When I was
stationed with the Rangers (near
the demilitarized z o n e) we
smoked grass quite often and
were not hassled about it. There
was a negative attitude that the
"lifers" had toward the "pot-
heads", but it was minimal.
FIRST OF ALL, that was a
volunteer unit and the lifers there.
were generally more tolerant. It
was a hard-core combat unit. The
main thing we had to accom-
plish was our mission. What we
did on our own time was of lit-
tle concern to those people as
long as it did not affect our com-
bat efficiency. There were no
hard narcotics in that company
the entire time I was stationed
there. It was a different story,
however, when I got down south
in the Saigon-Long Binh area.
"On my first day in Saigon,
I was approached a number of
times by Vietnamese whispering,
"Coke, you want some scag?
I have beaucoup, No. 1 scag." I
bought some on an impulse think-
ing it was either cocaine or
heroin . . I (later) found out it
was 98.5 per cent pure heroin -
all .47 gr of it. Along with the
grass I had, it was enough for a
year in jail.
"WHEN I GOT to my company
(in Long Binh) I found that it
was easier to get heroin than cig-
arettes . . . You couldn't go any-
where, except off by yourself, to
smoke a joint if you didn't want
a scag jay pushed in your mouth.
It was really hard for me to be-
lieve. And it was cheap too. One
vial, on the wholesale market
cost about $1.80. For a compara-
ble amount back in the world, it
would cost in the vicinity of $40
to $50 .. -
"It was much easier to smoke
a scag filled cigarette or snort
up a hit than it was to get caught
messing with grass. The lifers
knew what grass was, and it was
the highlight of their day if they
could catch someone smoking
some. Getting caught meant at
least a reduction in rank, a heavy
fine and, more likely than not, a
court martial ..."
Meanwhile, while ignoring re-
cent reports that top Vietnamese
government officials are respon-
sible for and reaping the profits
of the widespread heroin use in
Vietnam, the military has con-
centrated its efforts on stamp-
out the "little men".
In addition to large number of
narcotics arrests in Army instal-
lations, military personnel have
declared many know chemist
shops and peddling places "off-
limits" in a feeble attempt to cut
off the flow of hard drugs.
AS BILL SAYS, heroin is still
readily obtainable to the troops
and the problem is getting larg-
er every day. Heroin use is not
limited to a small core of mis-
fits - it is everywhere in Viet-
Still, however, the military
carefully chooses those who it
wishes to become the victims of
its misguided drug control pro-
grams. It is common knowledge
that men like Bill (who are ca-
reer soldiers) get much more
severe action taken against them
when they are found with drugs
"Lifers", as military logic
goes, are supposed to know the
rules of the game. Draftees, how-
ever, are almost expected to
break rules, and thus, are often
let off with light sentences or giv-
Still, there is flexibility for spe-
cial cases. For example, Bill
writes that a certain Specialist
Four was arrested last spring for
possession of a large quantity of
heroin. He was merely given a
THE EXPLANATION is sim-
ple. His father is a famous ca-
reer soldier, one of the most re-
nowned American military lead-
ers of this century and the son of
another military hero.
That is certainly no laughing
matter for Bill. Had he been
dealt with in the same manner,
perhaps he would someday fulfill
his desire to become a lawyer.
Today, it appears highly unlikely
that he will succeed, for if he re-
ceives a bad conduct discharge-
the equivalent of a felony convic-
tion - he will not be eligible to
enter the bar.
In addition, Bill and every other
soldier who may be denied an
honorable discharge due to nar-
cotics us will not be eligible for
treatment at Veterans' Adminis-
tration hospitals when they re-
turn to the States-an absurdity
that several senators are current-
ly attempting to change.
BUT NOW these relatively mi-
nor problems are far from his
mind as he sits in jail in Long
Binh waiting to return to civilian
He reads many books, writes
home often, and talks to many
of the other prisoners to pass the
time. Some of the prisoners are
there on drug charges. Others
were imprisoned for refusing to
fight or for striking officers who
ordered them into combat.
It has been said that the great-
est problems in "controlling" the
actions of soldiers comes in the
last days of a war. Certainly this
was is no exception. But instead
of having some compassion for
men who have risked their lives
for one of the greatest of the re-
cent American military blunders,
the Army chooses to imprison
them like animals - which hard-
ly serves as a solution for the
problems of anyone concerned.
The Editorial Page of The
Michigan Daily is open to any-
one who wishes to submit
articles. Generally speaking, all
articles should be less than
K vs : . ,,_.
(hat to do about it
(EDITOR'S NOITE: This regular question-and-answer
column on matters of sexual concern is being published
in co-operation with Counseling Services, a division of
the Office of student services. Questions may be sent
to Box 25, The Daily, 420 Maynard, or phoned into
76-GUIDE, the Counseling Services' regular 24-hour
counseling and referral service.)
By ROBERT KOOP
Q. You may not believe this, but I think I may
have caught VD from a toilet seat. Is this possible?
What should I do?
A. Well, it's possible. Highly unlikely - bizarre,
even - but possible. Venereal disease flourishes in
warm, moist areas such as the mouth, anus, and,
of course, the genitals. If you were to touch some-
thing with your mouth, anus or genitals that some-
one with VD touched with their mouth, genitals or
anus, and if whatever it was stayed moist and
warm between the time you two were touching
it, you might well pick it up.
Well, if that's what you do, that's what you do.
But the chances are slim.
As for what you should do: you should go to a
doctor or a clinic and get a blood test. Now.
Symptoms you should look for include:
1. A pimple, blister or sore on or around the sex
organs, lips, or anus.
2. A rash covering all or part of the body.
3. Bald spots where patches of hair fall out.
4. If you're a man, a painful burning sensation
during urination, or a slight ("tear drop") dis-
charge of pus from the penis.
Syphilis and gonorrhea, the two common venereal
diseases, are EASY TO TREAT. And it's easy to find
out if you have them.
The problem with these diseases is that initially
the symptoms don't seem like any big deal - they
aren't painful or even particularly annoying (ex-
cept for the burning sensation that gonorrhea caus-
es in men) and they don't last too long.
So what happens is somebody notices a sore
on his or her genitals. It isn't painful or itchy and
it goes away in a few days. Big deal. Thirty years
later he or she first goes blind, then dies.
Or a woman contracts gonorrhea and never
notices it until she finds out she's sterile or gives
birth to a blind baby.
OK, that's the scary part. On the other hand, you
could get syphilis and never know or care or any-
thing. Or you could be immune to gonorrhea -
lots of people are. But, then, why bother? If
people would get themselves treated, gonorrhea and
syphilis would be a thing of the past.
And it's easy as pie to get diagnosed and treated.
And confidential. You can get a blood test and
treatment (which is just a dosage or two of pent-
zillin) at the University Health Service (207 Flet-
cher, 764-8325) or at the Free People's Clinic (302
One last note or two: Venereal diseases are caught
from people who already have them. If you get
one, that means that someone you've had intimate
contact with has it too. TELL THEM. EVERYONE
you've had intimate contact with should be tested.
Also, it's possible to have a venereal disease with-
out having any noticeable symptoms at all. Un-
less you're sure that no one you've had intimate
contact with has a venereal disease, it's a good idea
to get a blood test every once in a while for no
reason at all. You might just save your life. Or
your lover's life.
Q. Where in Ann Arbor can I get information
about making arrangements for a New York abor-
A. Here's the list that I've published before:
Within the University:
Office of Religious Affairs, 2282 Student Activi-
ties Building. 764-7442.
Counseling Service, Office of Student Services,
1011 Student Activities Building. 764-7430.
Counseling Division, Bureau of Psychological
Services, 1007 East Huron. 764-9466, 764-9467.
Mental Health Clinic, University Health Service,
207 Fletcher. 764-8314, 764-8313.
Free People's Clinic, 302 E. Liberty (counselor
available Monday - Thursday, 7 - 10 p.m., and Sa-
turday, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.).
Women's Liberation Abortion Counseling Service,
And stay away from commercial referral agencies,
if there are still any around. They're expensive and
unnecessary and charge you for the same (at best)
services that you can get elsewhere free.
420 Moynord Street, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Edited ond mnoged by students ot the
University of Michigon
Editorials printed in The Michigan Doily express the individual
opinions of the author. This must be noted in oil reprints.
Fridoy, July 23, 1971 News Phone: ~/64-0552
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