Harsh Treatment for Marines Caught Using Illicit Drugs

By David Schneider And Mansi Mehan

Nov 30, 2007 9:53am

Editor’s Note from Brian Ross: In the third year of a joint project with the nonprofit Carnegie Corporation, six leading graduate school journalism students were again selected to spend the summer working with the ABC News investigative unit.

This year’s project involved an examination of whether, as happened in the wake of the Vietnam War, Iraqi war veterans were turning to drugs as a result of the trauma and pain of war.

The U.S. military maintains the percentage of soldiers abusing drugs is extremely small and has not increased as a result of Iraq.

The students’ assignment was to get the unofficial side of the story from soldiers, young men of their own generation.

Today’s report is the fifth in a series of five reports. U.S. Marines caught using illegal drugs often face harsh punishment from the military, according to counselors, veterans’ advocates and military defense attorneys. Marines have been kicked out of the service with loss of benefits, or even thrown in jail despite their claim that they turned to drugs to cope with their battlefield experiences in Iraq. While the Marine Corps does provide substance abuse and counseling, experts say rehabilitation often loses out to punishment and discipline. Read the Full Story.

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