scully_208 (scully_208) wrote in little_details,
scully_208
scully_208
little_details

USA late 1960s - questions about Drugs, Self Harm, Suicide, Vietnam War

I have three different scenarios in the one story, set in 1968.

I've tried googling a few things about drafting/enlistment in the Vietnam war, the history of cocaine in the 1960s, and the stigmas around self harm in the 1960s, and I've also looked through the tags on this forum but I haven't really found the answers I'm looking for.

The story is about three siblings, and I have some questions about each of their experiences - the elder brother has been in Vietnam, the sister self harms and the younger brother has been doing and dealing drugs.

The younger brother is about sixteen, a very smart kid who wants to be a writer but tells his father he'll be a doctor or something when he finishes school. He's been writing other kids' essays for a fee. It's all going fine until one boy tries to pay him in drugs. My character agrees upon it as payment somewhat halfheartedly, but once he realises he can get way more money selling drugs than writing essays, he turns to this instead.

My questions are:

* What drug would he primarily be selling? (I want something that he could also be taking himself that he thinks won't do him much harm, so I was thinking cocaine? But not sure on the popularity/accessibility at this time?)

* For how much, to high school and possibly college students? (in 1968)

* Who would he get it from?

* How might he go about doing business and letting people know that he has it?

The sister is seventeen, has depression and blames herself for something that happened to her younger brother, so has recently taken to self harm - in this case, wrist cutting - which has been ongoing for about three months. Her 29-year-old stepmother, whom she gets along with and considers a friend, finds her out.

My questions:

* What would be the social stigma surrounding self harm in 1968?

* What would be the girl's perception about what she was doing to herself (based on the stigma), and how might she feel about other people's reactions if they found out?

* What might the stepmother do once she did find out?

* If the girl made a suicide attempt, would she be admitted to a psychiatric ward or similar, and what might be the treatment?
(It's complicated to explain, but she didn't really make the suicide attempt herself, and considers herself NOT suicidal, even though based on the evidence her family now thinks that she is, and has attempted it)

The older brother is somewhere in his mid twenties. For the sake of the story I need him to have not seen his family in about five years (whether that's all been spent at war/bootcamp, or if he's been at college first, I don't mind). He is then discharged and sent home after he loses his legs in an accident.


My questions are:

* If he returns home in 1968, what's a realistic age that he might be when he left/when he returns, and how long would have been at war for?
* Was it a draft or would he have volunteered?
* What would be a realistic length of time between the actual accident and his arrival home? And what would be the procedure for returning him home?
* Is this circumstance called "Honorable Discharge" or something else?

Thank you in advance to anyone who can help!

Tags: 1960-1969, usa: military: historical, ~psychology & psychiatry: depression, ~psychology & psychiatry: historical, ~recreational drugs, ~suicide
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