United States military authorities in South Korea this week began a tight clamp down on drug usage among servicemen.
United States military authorities in South Korea this week began a tight clamp down on drug usage among servicemen. The authorities launched more street patrols by military police for spot checks and brought in German shepherd dogs to sniff out drugs on Americans arriving from overseas.
The clampdown followed reports of drug usage amongst American servicemen based overseas particularly in South Vietnam and recent incidents in South Korea involving drugs.
In towns like Uijiongbu City near American bases, military police in jeeps patrolled the streets for spot checks on off-duty servicemen.
Aiding the clampdown is a new Korean law cracking down on habit-forming drugs which came into force last November. Previously, South Korea was a "paradise" for servicemen who smoked marihuana. The drug was plentifully available in rural areas near American bases as there was no law controlling soft drugs.
The new anti-drug laws in South Korea were passed by the National Assembly after the United States authorities had repeatedly urged its enactment.
In 1970, American authorities reported an average 60 patients a month admitted to military hospitals with drug problems, with an additional 200 other drug-related clinic visits. However, no figures are available for this year.
Several German shepherds play a key role in the anti-drug campaign. One is based at the American Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, to check on incoming passengers. Others are moved round American army units to sniff through billets and office buildings, leaving no trace of drugs undetected. The dogs can also pick out drug addicts.