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Drugged and Armed - Our Military Pilots are Pumped Full of Drugs when they Fly.

Updated on March 26, 2012
Fighter Pilot - Pumped up on Drugs?
Fighter Pilot - Pumped up on Drugs? | Source

The Best of the Best

Our military fighter pilots are the best of the best right? They are all superb specimens of humankind; extremely fit, exceptionally clever, and uncommonly talented. They need to be - they will be expected to operate under extremely challenging circumstances in hostile territory flying the most sophisticated machines that our technologists can create.

They will be piloting incredibly complicated aircraft with unbelievable price-tag and killing power. These beasts can fly many thousands of miles per hour and are armed to the teeth with guns, cannons, missiles and bombs - Armageddon on wings.

You would imagine that any pilot who was even suspected of taking a mind and mood altering drug would be immediately arrested, thrown in the brig, and kept as far away from the death-dealing machines as possible - But you would be wrong.

F-15e Strike Eagle over Iraq
F-15e Strike Eagle over Iraq | Source
Dexidrine - Dextro AmphetamineThe drug issued to Fighter Pilots on Active Service
Dexidrine - Dextro AmphetamineThe drug issued to Fighter Pilots on Active Service | Source

The Right Stuff - Amphetamines

The Truth is that ALL pilots who fly combat missions are pumped up with what your local drug-dealer would call "Speed" or "Dexies", and what your local chemist would call "Dextro amphetamine" - Trade name "Dexidrine" - Better known to the military as "Go-Pills"

Do the military authorities know that their pilots are tanked up on amphetamines? - Not only do they know, they positively encourage it, and regard the ingestion of amphetamine necessary to ward off fatigue on long missions, a situation they describe as "better bombing through chemistry"

The military are careful to stress that the taking of Amphetamines is "Voluntary", and that a pilot may refuse them if they so wish. However, the reality is that a pilot may be grounded if he refuses to take them - To be grounded (taken off flight status) is extremely damaging for a pilots career - so few exercise their right to do so.

According to the USA's own Drug Enforcement Agency serious potential side effects associated with the use of amphetamines include, insomnia, euphoria, confusion, depression, mood disturbances, anxiety, fatigue, aggression, violent behaviour, paranoia, auditory hallucinations, delusions and psychotic behaviour.

Under the Influence of Drugs?

The drugs situation was brought to the fore recently when two F-16 fighter pilots, Harry Schmidt and William Umbach, who were serving in Afghanistan, mistakenly bombed a group of Canadian Soldiers in a "Friendly Fire" incident.

They were put on trial for "reckless behaviour and violating the rules of engagement". It came out during the trial that both men had been flying under the influence of Amphetamine "Go-pills" administered to them by the flight surgeon. Their attorneys stated that it had not been Schmidt and Umbach who killed the Canadian Soldiers, but the Air Forces dextro-amphetamine.

Now many of us would think that putting someone in the driving seat of one of the most lethal killing machines in the world, and then pumping them full of Amphetamine, (which carries the known side-effects of confusion, anxiety, aggression, paranoia, hallucinations and psychotic behaviour), was not the best idea in the world. In fact, most of us would think that it is an accident waiting to happen.

And yet the military continue to do it, flight after flight, conflict after conflict, pilots are flying their missions under the influence of Amphetamines. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the whole affair is that more "accidents" don't occur. Of course, even if they do, the military, being the military, is unlikely to tell anyone it doesn't have to about them.


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  • Gaizy profile image

    Gaizy 5 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    Thanks Parrster - When you think that amphetamines increase paranoia, aggression and impulsive behaviour, it's no wonder that there are so many "friendly fire" incidents in war.

  • parrster profile image

    Richard Parr 5 years ago from Oz

    This was really interesting, and disturbing. Nothing surprises me any more.

    Voted up and interesting

  • Gaizy profile image

    Gaizy 6 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ Danette Watt - Yes, I think it was a surprise to may people although it has been going on since World War 2.

  • Danette Watt profile image

    Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

    Interesting hub. I remember that incident.

  • Gaizy profile image

    Gaizy 6 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ Sunny209101 - You're welcome.

  • sunny209101 profile image

    sunny209101 6 years ago

    thank you for sharing your knowledge..

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