Many things were supposed to be prohibited while in service: smoking, getting drunk with alcohol, and of course, being high on drugs. You’ll want to perform your best while on duty, so it is imperative that you are in your best state of mind. However, one Finnish soldier proved that that’s not always the case, as he managed to survive a Soviet attack by getting high on meth, with a dose for 30 people. Now, this is not to say that getting high while at work was actually a good idea to get things done but simply to tell Aimo Koivunen’s astounding story.

Amphetamine Use During WWII

It was during World War II when amphetamine and methamphetamine were used both by Axis and Allied Forces. Pervitin, methamphetamine hydrochloride, developed by chemists Hauschild and Dobke from the German pharmaceutical company Temmler, was advertised as a stimulant in the form of a tablet. The German and Finnish militaries commonly used it to give them a boost of energy. It was rumored that Adolf Hitler developed an addiction to it in late 1942.

Pervitin. (Thomas Springer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Millions of these tablets were distributed across German military ranks and divisions, as well as elite forces and tank crews, to induce wakefulness. Thirty-five million 3mg doses of Pervitin were manufactured for the Germans between April and July 1940. Servicemen were only given three tablets a month.

Amphetamine was also distributed to Allied bomber pilots to sustain them by fighting off fatigue and also enhancing their focus during long flights. During the Persian Gulf War, the American bomber pilots would pop “Go Pills” in the form of the prescription amphetamine Dexedrine to keep themselves alert on long missions.