GI Junkies: The Forgotten Veterans

Originally released in 1976, GI Junkies: The Forgotten Veterans is a film by Richard Kotuk which examines the crisis that was the return of Vietnam veterans who received no hero’s welcome because of their addiction to drugs. They were also stripped of their educational and medical benefits due this.

In the summer of 1971, when the United States involvement in the Vietnam war was near its peak, Nixon’s government set about commissioning a research project which revealed that when confronted by the trauma of losing a war and having limitless access to cheap drugs that ten of thousands of American troops had become addicted to heroin

There was a fear that this would result in a flood of returning junkies who would wreak havoc on society, overwhelming drug treatment services and triggering a crime wave. After conducting a study of nearly 14,000 soldiers who were approaching the end of their tours of duty they quickly realised that they had massively underestimated the scale of hard drug use.

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