Re: Cocaine Fiends & Reefer Madness

Maggie Jaffe (
Mon, 29 Jan 1996 17:06:35 -0500

Dear Sixties People, drieux and Michael:

Michael Starks' *Cocaine Fiends and Reefer Madness: An Illustrated History
of Drugs in the Movies* ( 1982) is an amusing study of drug representation
in film. Although the book does not describe the connection between
Vietnam War movies and drugs (*Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, 84
Charlie MoPic, Apocalypse Now*), it does mention propaganda movies made by
the army in response to the "GI Epidemic of 1970." The army produced
*Narcotic Deaths * (1970), which was "the ultimate in shock and gore," and
ABC's *Heroes and Heroin* (1971) documented heroin use in soldiers
returning from Vietnam (Starks 195).

Alfred W. McCoy's *The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global
Drug Trade* (1991) is probably the definitive source about drug use in
Vietnam which was channeled through the "Golden Triangle." McCoy's revised
version includes information about the lucrative cocaine industry in Latin
America in the 80s as well.

I believe the controversy surrounding LSD reached its apex when Art
Linkletter's daughter committed suicide, supposedly when she was high on
LSD. I think that was in 1966, but I'm not too sure.