Life stages, like adolescence, are part of a broader category in the addictive matrix—the situation or environment the individual faces. One of the most remarkable illustrations of the dynamics of addiction is the Vietnam war (...) American soldiers in Vietnam frequently took narcotics, and nearly all who did became addicted. A group of medical epidemiologists studied these soldiers and followed them up after they came home. The researchers found that most of the soldiers gave up their drug addiction when they returned to the States. However, about half of those addicted in Vietnam did use heroin at home. Yet only a small percentage of these former addicts became readdicted. Thus, Vietnam epitomizes the kind of barren, stressful, and out-of-control situation that encourages addiction. At the same time, the fact that some soldiers became addicted in the United States after being addicted in Asia while most did not indicates how important individual personalities are in addiction. The Vietnam experience also shows that narcotics, such as heroin, produce experiences that serve to create addictions only under specific conditions.
Stanton Peele: The Diseasing of America: How we allowed recovery zealots and the treatment industry to convince us we are out of control