GO! GO! SPEED RACER! Amphetamines and the Military.


January 3, 2003, 12:25 AM
I have in fact used them when I was in.

Now they are been cited as a reason for bombing Canadian Soldiers training.

Amphetamines work great in small, infrequent, amounts. But if you use them to replace sleep, they don't for very long.


Anyone else have stories?

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January 3, 2003, 12:34 AM
The nazi cooking method comes from WW2, manufacturer obvious.

January 3, 2003, 12:35 AM
There is an old saying,"speed kills". Well in this instance it impaired judgement and got friendlies killed. Missions flown by Air Force pilots tend to be a bit long. The regular use of "speed" is less than a responsible thing to do when you have so much firepower at your fingertips. Hell, most folks with brains will pull off the road if they are too tired. We should not have out pilots on drugs while flying highly sophisticated machinery. That is my .02 cents worth and now I'll duck my head.

January 3, 2003, 01:27 AM
one side of me agrees w/ path...the other side remembers what it was like when i was in: the lack of sleep, the drills during off-time, etc etc.

i don't condone it, i guess, but i sure do sympathize w/ the guys who need a little lift now and then.

Average Guy
January 3, 2003, 01:58 AM
Illegal crank was prevalent at 29 Palms (and probably still is). Never tried it when I was in, but about 6 months after I got out--after my girlfriend broke up with me and my LE prospects weren't looking good--I said *** and ended up using for almost a year.

It's certainly no substitute for sleep, and eventually your body will just shut down anyway. I never got into "trouble" while driving, but one day in class, after having been up not even 24 hours, I just passed out. The worst part was trying to get off the stuff, because for a couple of days afterward, I couldn't think straight.

Gee, and I thought all the military drug experiments went out with the 60s. :)

January 3, 2003, 02:08 AM
This is a real crock, there is no free lunch. Person responsible for knowingly giving drugs should be in jail. Do you want to go to range with me after I had just a little line of coke to clear my head? Do you want guys with jets and bombs to do same with speed? This is insanity big time! I say this from experience not opinion. All my spec ops buddies in 70s and before occasionally took speed and we all know NOW it was counter productive.I wonder how pilots can pass the frequent drug screen and do this? :what:

4v50 Gary
January 3, 2003, 02:14 AM
Weren't our paratroopers given drugs before the jump into Normandy?

January 3, 2003, 02:30 AM
The pilots and aircrews pass the drug screening test the same way they do whenever they get a subscription that includes a controlled substance, ie. Codeine, etc. The flight surgeon makes an entry in the folder upon issuing the prescription. If a random urinalysis turns up positive for the controlled substance, the first place they'll go is that medical folder.

Fly a B-2 for 36+ hours, with a catnap or two behind the ejection seats, and then transition to a critical phase of flight at the tail end of the crew duty day. Let's say a one-way trip, beginning at Whiteman AFB, a "delay" over Kabul, then landing at Diego Garcia. Staying alert is difficult, at best. Same goes for the U-2 Dragon Lady pilots. You're exhausted after a long recce flight, and you gotta land the widowmaker, which is difficult at best when you're wide awake and alert.

When I was on my reconnaissance sorties into and out of the AOR during the Persian Gulf War, we all knew about the issued methamphetamines. Flight surgeon asked us if we had any objections to it. Luckily, we had an augmented crew and didn't exceed 24 hours at a time.

January 3, 2003, 11:34 AM
Due to the misadventures of a family member, I have had comprehensive experience with the effects of meth. Delusions due to sleep deprivation, rage, paranoia and a car crash from falling asleep. It doesn't get much worse. This is all several years behind us and recovery seems to be 100%. There is absolutely no way I want anyone representing me armed or whatever to be on a program of sleep deprivation and meth. Find another way.

January 3, 2003, 11:58 AM
TUCSON, Arizona (CNN) -- A lawyer for one of the two U.S. pilots who accidentally released a bomb that killed four Canadian soldiers in southern Afghanistan in April says the Air Force pressured the pilots to take amphetamines.

The lawyer says the "go pills" may have impaired their judgment during the mission.

CNN anchor Miles O'Brien discussed the allegation with CNN military analyst retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd:

O'BRIEN: How common are these so-called go pills?

SHEPPERD: Very common. It makes great headlines but there's no mystery about this. This is something that's gone on for years. I've taken them myself on very long missions. You have pills that help you manage your rest cycle. The idea is to stay rested, especially when you're on high-stress missions.

Manage your sleep with sleeping pills, if necessary, and also make sure you stay awake with go-pills, if necessary. This has gone on for a long time. There's been a lot of research behind this. And this issue is part of a lawyer seeking to basically provide the best defense he can for his clients who face the possibility of very serious charges.

O'BRIEN: All right, but from a layman's perspective, General, the thought of somebody at the hands of a supersonic war machine who is so fatigued that he has to take a pill ... to stay alert is a bit disquieting. Should we be concerned at all?

SHEPPERD: No, I don't think you should be concerned at all. Basically, you should be concerned that people are put in these situations in combat by situations beyond their control. But worse than that is a person that is asleep at the controls. Basically these fighter missions that these people are going on from the Gulf to Afghanistan, eight, nine, 10 hours alone in a cockpit. You have to stay hydrated.

You have to manage your eating cycle. You have to manage your sleep cycle. And you want those people awake. You can take one of these things 30 minutes before you think you really need it and be wide awake at those times. And again it's not unusual. I've done it myself.

O'BRIEN: All right, General Shepperd, let's read a quick statement or an excerpt of a statement from the Air Force. And I want to get you to comment on this. "The authorization for their use" -- referring to these so-called go-pills, Dexedrine -- "is time and or mission-specific. When authorized, they are only used with the air crew members' informed consent after appropriate ground testing for adverse effects, and their use is completely voluntary at the discretion of the air crew member," and they also add the standard dose is about 10 milligrams.

The allegation of the attorney is that these pills are essentially forced on to the pilots. If they don't take the pills, they don't get the mission.

SHEPPERD: I don't know what the current rules and situation are, but the time I was on active duty, and the times that I took these pills, it was voluntary. We were pre-tested. It was explained what they were good for, what the cautions were. They're prescription medicines. You had the advice of a flight surgeon available to you at all times. And nobody was ever forced to take them. I can see people being heavily encouraged to take these in times of great stress or on long missions rather than go to sleep, but nobody ever forced us to take them.

O'BRIEN: All right, and the final point here, it does seem odd to some of us, once again, nonmilitary types, to have a live-fire exercise under way in such close proximity to actual combat missions.

SHEPPERD: Yes, that is reportedly part of the defense of the pilots by the lawyer, saying that these pilots were not aware of the live-fire exercise underneath them, had not been informed by the chain of command.

Again, what's happening is charges have been proffered. Anyone can proffer charges after an investigation.

Now, a Title 32 investigation is taking place to see if these people should be subjected to a court-martial, where they would meet a jury of their peers, people that have been in combat, people that have flown, even some people perhaps that have taken these pills. It's a very fair justice system, Miles, lots of steps to go before these people ... meet their ultimate fate in the justice system.

January 3, 2003, 12:00 PM

Need I say more?


January 3, 2003, 12:02 PM
Weren't our paratroopers given drugs before the jump into Normandy?
Indeed some were. What was it? I have never been able to find out. Apparently the "Little White Pills", as they were called by the Troopers, were a type of (real or perceived) sedative, intended to calm the nerves of the understandably anxious paratroopers (I have no idea if the glider men were given this substance).

Not all units were given the drug, but the ones that recieved it were under orders to take it. I originally suspected it may have been some precursor to Dramamine to prevent air-sickness, but the more I read about the substance the more I saw that SOME of the paratroopers recalled being "calmed" by the drug. I read of one account where a gentleman in the 101st charged a German machine gun nest (alone) and killed the crew with his trench knife. His buddies made the statement that he had, "Apparently been eating too many of those little white pills!" :p I'm sure they were joking, however.

I have never read of the drug having a major effect upon the performance of the men one way or the other. If anyone knows what this stuff was I'd love to know.

Don Gwinn
January 3, 2003, 12:19 PM
I'm from near Springfield, where the 186th is based, so you can imagine that this is a big story around here. There are a lot of questions. Some new facts actually have come to light through the lawyer's investigation.

1. Everyone was told by the military that the training operation involved only small arms fire and nothing was fired upward toward the plane. Turns out that's not true--artillery pieces were fired in the exercise, right before the bomb was dropped. One of our local talk radio hosts was a commander on bombers and recce planes and says that the muzzle flash of this cannon looks a lot like a SAM plume.

2. Apparently, no one knew about this training exercise below the level of some high command in Kuwait City. Not the AWACS crew, not anyone at the 186th, no one.

January 3, 2003, 01:54 PM
Ask a LRRP member or a SF trooper from the Vietnam era if they ever heard of such a thing.

January 3, 2003, 01:58 PM
Yuck. I think I'll go watch Jacob's Ladder tonight.

Shawn Dodson
January 3, 2003, 02:43 PM
When I worked on nuclear weapons as a sailor in the Navy I was in a program called the Personel Reliability Program (PRP), which was designed to monitor my mental and physical fitness to work directly on nuclear weapons.

Being in the PRP I was subject to random urinanalysis (long before urinanalysis was fashionable in the military). I wasn't allowed to take as much as a sudafed, lest it impair my mental faculties and fitness to work on nukes. If I got caught taking unauthorized, but legal medications (even over the counter meds) I'd be branded a "drug abuser" and be prosecuted per the USMJ. I saw this happen to many shipmates over the years.

I had a large pink placard inserted in my medical and dental records identifying me as someone who is in the PRP. The PRP ensured I got second class medical care because instead of getting medication that would work, and was prescribed for any other regular joe (but would render me unfit for PRP duties), I got medications that either didn't work or didn't work as well. There were a number of times the Corpsman or medical officer would start to write me a prescription and then go, "Oh, that's right, you're in the PRP," and then have to look in the formulary for an alternate, non-PRP, less effective drug to prescribe to me.

Given this experience, I'm shocked the military would seek to prosecute combat pilots who were under the influence of military prescribed drugs, especially drugs that impair judgment. Hey, if I was mentally unfit to work with weapons of mass destruction because I took a sudafed, how can the military feed combat pilots speed and then turn them loose with weapons of mass destruction? It was the military that took the risk that something bad would happen. That risk was realized. Now they're going to blame the pilots involved. Doesn't seem right to me.

January 3, 2003, 03:50 PM
I think a few people are getting off track here. The issue is amphetamines, not coke, not meth., A legal drug that you can get by perscription from your doctor.

January 3, 2003, 07:45 PM

Meth is just short for methamphetamine. Same goody as the prescription. Same effects when abused, whether by self medication or by doctor's help.

El Tejon
January 3, 2003, 07:51 PM
444, well, you can get cocaine from your doctor as well. ENTs use cocaine a lot.

The defense may be in trouble shifting blame like this early. Drugs in the militree are nothing new. Looks bad for the pilots. Wait and see.

Zorro, only story I have is about coffee. It helped me answer the phone.:)

January 3, 2003, 08:00 PM
This reminds me of an interview i saw with a B-17 pilot. He spoke of theses little "match-boxes" that hey were given with a chocolate and a pepermint (?). Whatever the "mint" was, the pilot claimed that it was a definite boost to him to take it half-way through a mission. I found it odd how much he stressed the positive effects of this "mint". I wonder how long this kind of thing has been going on....


January 3, 2003, 08:07 PM
Now, a Title 32 investigation is taking place to see if these people should be subjected to a court-martial, where they would meet a jury of their peers, people that have been in combat, people that have flown, even some people perhaps that have taken these pills.

It's not a Title 32 investigation, it's an Article 32 investigation. The reason the pilots will most likely be charged is to limit the liability faced by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Government.(Where's the barf smilie when you need it?)

January 3, 2003, 08:25 PM
I realize that cocaine is used in medicine, however it isn't something that you are going to get a perscription for that you pick up at your neighborhood pharmacy. However that is the case with amphetamines. Don't get me wrong, I don't condone their recreational use, but they arn't in the same league with crystal.

January 3, 2003, 08:54 PM
Sorry Zorro, I just couldn't resist:

Out of the night,
When the full moon is bright,
Comes the horseman known as Zorro.
This bold renegade
Carves a 'Z' with his blade,
A 'Z' that stands for Zorro.

Zorro, Zorro, the fox so cunning and free,
Zorro, Zorro, who makes the sign of the 'Z.'

He is polite,
But the wicked take flight
When they catch the sight of Zorro.
He's friend of the weak,
And the poor and the meek,
This very unique seƱor Zorro.

Zorro, Zorro, the fox so cunning and free,
Zorro, Zorro, who makes the sign of the Z.

Zorro, Zorro, Zorro, Zorro, Zorro.

:D :D

January 3, 2003, 09:04 PM
I read some time ago and I do not remember where that it was a standard practice for bomber crews in WW 2 to get "bennies" for the long missions. No matter how everyone feels about drugs in long flights I can't see anyone staying alert for such a long period of time.The payment for not staying alert was a chance of you and your crew dieing.I see a lot of talk about st reet drugs on this thread.I don't think you can compare the two.Street drugs are of unknown quality where the drugs issued are of a known quality and can dispensed accuratly.
I think the drug talk is a lawyers out and the tactic will probably work.It sounds to me like there was a breakdown in command communication and that is what is being covered up.

The White Flyer
January 3, 2003, 09:18 PM
Only users lose drugs.

January 3, 2003, 09:19 PM
I agree. The problem is that some people think it is terrible to take an amphetamine because it may effect your judgement (which I seriously doubt) when the alternative is a guys judgement after not sleeping for a day or two.

Shawn Dodson
January 3, 2003, 09:47 PM
The problem, as I see it, is an understanding of the situation these guys are in. It's a no win situation. However the military and the U.S. government must take responsibility because mistakes are bound to happen. Using the little guys as a scapegoat is not good policy, in my opinion.

Conflict is not the place to enforce a "zero defects" policy. Stuff happens.

January 3, 2003, 10:42 PM
The shank of the story is that these guys didn't seem to be "using" for recreational purposes, but are still gonna be the fall guys. Someone needs to hang. A change in semi accepted policy won't satisfy the beast, so I guess it's gonna be human sacrifice time.

January 3, 2003, 10:44 PM
Finding someone to blame always makes everything better.

January 3, 2003, 10:57 PM
I'm in the military myself, so I won't comment at length on this particular case. I will however say that General Shepperd as quoted by Gewehr98 makes a commentary which I believe to be extremely truthful and insightful. In particular, I like the phrase:

It makes great headlines but there's no mystery about this. This is something that's gone on for years.

A defense attorney will seek to get the best defense for his client, regardless. In this case, it appears that the media has focused on the issue of stimulants used by aircrew as it was a hot topic recently, when the initial report came out.

In this thread, likening the issue to illicit and illegal drug use by the pilots is off-topic and doesn't serve to explain the situation of this incident.

January 3, 2003, 11:53 PM
Ok guys, as I said there ain't no free lunch! Any attempt to chemically boost the system has it's payback time. ALL drugs use neurochemicals up that can NEVER be replaced in the same quality or quantity again. Yes I have studied this in graduate school. My son in law runs a clinical rehab program and I see the results of prescription drugs weekly, Valium,Soma, steroids.Vikidiene,ritalin,AMPHETIMINES ect. ect. If your particular personality (brain chemistry) "likes" the right drug you are hooked,fron the first use!I was a LRRP in nam and yes speed was everywhere. The "help" anything gives is illusionary, looked at in the big picture. Its like the trucker who says he can't drive across country without "whites" (dexamphetamines); just ability to operate does not imply expertise. When one area of senses are being enhanced somethingelse is being deteriorated. Aint no free lunch. You can increase oxygen flow to pilot,you can rest before mission and exert yourself for 36 hours, vitamins ect. to enhance mission but their is no magic pill to increase your ability to defeat your opponent when you need it. You might THINK you are enhanced but in reality over a long exertion you'll be lessened ,guaranteed. The Nazi's tried this stuff in 30s we and soviets monkeyed with stuff in 50s , us baby boomers monkeyed in 60s and 70s and yuppies in 80s but result of EVERYBODY has ALLWAYS been the same. aint no free lunch or magic pill. PS: my caffiene use (2 cups a day) costs me big time in 25 yard slow fire, Ive run experiments time and again on this.:rolleyes:

January 5, 2003, 01:27 AM
I hope they don't find out about the USAF prescribing Steroids for everything under the sun!

I have even gotten Steroids to treat a Cold, supposedly they were to fight congestion.

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