All Roads Lead from Vietnam to Your Home Town: How Veterans Have Become Casualties of the War on Drugs

Susan Stuart, Valparaiso University School of Law


In pursuing that thesis, this Article must first pursue the increasing evidence that the War on Drugs was and always has been antithetical to very real problems our service members suffer upon their return from war that cause them to abuse drugs. Thus, Part I will address the convergence of the Vietnam War and the War on Drugs, which elevated soldiers‘ recreational drug use into a national criminal problem. Part II will examine the scientific literature that connects service members‘ mental health problems—often caused by war experiences—directly with subsequent (and even concurrent) drug abuse. Part III will examine the emerging concerns for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, who may pose even more significant problems with drug abuse than those from Vietnam. And Part IV will examine those solutions that local governments—in tandem with other affected nonprofits—can use to serve these particular citizens. If effective, they can serve as models for the entire community, not just veterans.