Use of performance-enhancing drugs in military

Use of performance-enhancing drugs in military

Drug use and abuse by people in the military is not an unusual occurrence anymore. From the World Wars to the civil wars, there have been significant stories of drug use among war fighters to improve their performance and to remain alert during their combat deployments. However, it is still difficult to ascertain as to what extent are such drugs impacting the lives of soldiers.

Several soldiers in the U.S. Army were found using performance-enhancing supplements such as Dimethylamine (DMAA), categorized as a banned substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list. Blood examination of military personnel has also revealed the use of psychoactive drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines, steroids and opiates.

The polish historian Lukasz Kamienski, in his book “Shooting Up”, explains that ever since warfare started, military forces have started using drugs to enhance their capabilities and performances. Adolf Hitler, during his Blitzkrieg invasion, fed his troops with high doses of crystal meth, which made them feel euphoric and kept them wide awake. The stimulant called “Pervertin”, marketed as a pick-up pill, made the soldiers feel great and stay awake, which, eventually, helped them feel euphoric on the battle ground.

The Vietnam War was a classic war that redefined the history of substance abuse in America. For this reason, the war was also known as the “first pharmacological war”. While the US military provide its troops in Vietnam with dextroamphetamines or speed, potent and addictive central nervous system stimulants. A report by the House Select Committee on Crime released in 1971 revealed that from 1966 to 1969, the military department had used 225 millions of stimulant tablets called Dexedrine, or dextroamphetamines, which was twice as strong as Benzedrine that was used by the soldiers in the World War II.

Even the U.S. Air Force pilots use performance-enhancing drugs such as amphetamine, which clearly indicates the high prevalence of drug abuse among military personnel. In fact, the US Department of Defense (DOD) scientists had approved such drugs, also known as “Go Pills”, to combat their tiredness and enhance performance during long missions.

Impact of drugs on veterans

According to the recent data shared by the U.S. Veterans Affairs (VA) officials, there has been a 55 percent increase, comprising nearly 68,000 veterans with drug abuse problem during 2010 to 2015. Veteran dependency on drugs can be labeled as “something that began in the military and ended in addiction”.

While many soldiers going through emotional upheavals, such as depression, anxiety or mood disorders, usually resort to drugs to relieve their pain, they do not realize that suppressed problems can explode years later, leading to long-term trauma and stress. Apart from facing severe side effects, such as insomnia, depression or hallucinations, many veterans claimed drug abuse increased their aggressive or irritable behavior.

Road to recovery

Drug abuse and dependency is a serious issue that affects the socio- economic growth of the society. Substance abuse has reached an alarming level in the United States, causing innumerable problems to the government and the general public.

If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome an addiction, you can seek out for drug treatment centers in California. The California Drug Abuse Helpline can assist you in finding the best treatment programs suiting your needs. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1946 or chat online for information on the top drug rehabilitation centers in California.

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