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Many farm women chewed betel nut as they labored. We were told it was a mild narcotic that made the brutal labor more tolerable. Repeated use blackened their teeth while gums and lips turned blood-red. It looked as if they had been punched in the mouth and were starting to bleed.

I tried a nut but it was bitter and I spit it out in less than a minute. Some American soldiers went home with various drug habits but I doubt any were using betel nut!

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