Smoking, drinking alcohol to intoxication, and of course using narcotics heavily were all things that were meant to be forbidden while on duty. It is essential that you are at your best mentally while on duty since you want to give it your all. But Aimo Koivunen was an exception.
One Finnish soldier, however, demonstrated that this isn’t always the case when he used meth to get high and survive a Soviet invasion, taking a dose meant for 30 people. This is merely to share Aimo Koivunen’s incredible experience; it is not meant to indicate that using drugs or alcohol while at work was a wise choice.
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Amphetamine Use During WWII
Both Axis and Allied Forces utilized amphetamine and methamphetamine throughout World War II. Methamphetamine hydrochloride, known as Pervitin, was made by chemists Hauschild and Dobke for the German pharmaceutical company Temmler.
It was marketed as a stimulant and came in tablet form. It was frequently utilized as an energy booster by the Finnish and German troops. It was said that late in 1942, Adolf Hitler became addicted to it.
Millions of these tablets were given to German military divisions, elite forces, and tank crews to help them become alert. Pervitin was produced in 35 million 3mg dosages for the Germans between April and July of 1940. Only three pills per month were given to service members.
Allied bomber pilots were also given amphetamine to keep them awake throughout long missions and to sharpen their focus. To stay attentive on lengthy sorties during the Persian Gulf War, American bomber pilots would take “Go Pills”—prescription forms of the amphetamine Dexedrine.
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
The Finnish army had been at war for four years, almost nonstop, as of March 18, 1944. The Finnish skiers were being led by Aimo Koivunen when they came under Soviet fire. They scurried to safety from the gunshots and then ran for their lives on their skis. Through the thick, untouched snow, Koivunen led his other soldiers.
The soldiers in the back looked to him to break the tracks so the rest of them could glide across because he was at the very front. It turned out to be arduous work, and Koivunen could feel his arms and legs giving out from exhaustion.
Then he recalled the package of Pervitin pills he had been given by the commanders, which had been hidden in his pocket and had promised to give him a boost of energy.
Aimo Koivunen was Meth High
He initially opposed taking the drug, but he later decided that it would be beneficial to get some assistance at that particular time. The Pervitin for his entire squad was, incidentally, in his hands. He could have stopped in his tracks to enjoy choosing one pill, taking it, and watching for the anticipated boost, but he was unable to do so.
His heavy mittens made it challenging for him to take a single dose at that time while he was still pushing through the snow. So he simply swallowed the entire container of 30 methamphetamine pills.
He quickly started skiing much more quickly. His teams trailed him and stayed up with him, possibly observing Koivunen’s abrupt turn toward aggressive skiing.
His fellow soldiers were soon unable to keep up with the Soviets. He continued skiing despite his vision becoming foggy. He made as much progress through the snow as he could without seeing anything. He crossed about 62 miles (100 kilometers) the following morning and found he was all by himself.
He decided that continuing to ski was the best course of action because he was still intoxicated, without nourishment, and having no ammo. He repeatedly encountered Soviet soldiers throughout his meth-fueled journey. He also crossed a landmine, and as he skied over it, the explosions started a fire. Surprisingly, he wasn’t hurt.
He was delirious as he lay on the ground, drifting in and out of consciousness, and no one came to help. He had the energy to get up and continue moving because the effects of the 30 pills did not wear off quickly. After a few days, the medications’ suppression of his hunger began to wear off, and he began to get hungry.
He ultimately returned to Finnish territory while still high from the megadose of amphetamine, looking as though he had just returned from the wildest of adventures. His rate was still 200 beats per minute when his fellow countrymen took him to the hospital, where it was discovered that his weight had rapidly fallen to just 94 pounds.
He covered a total distance of 250 miles. Aimo Koivunen recovered from his drug overdose and lived for several more years before passing away peacefully at the age of 71.