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UK army tested 'stay awake' pills (Modafinil)

By matti_2003, Nov 9, 2006 | | |
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  1. matti_2003
    A controversial drug which can keep people awake for days has been tested by the UK military, MPs have been told.

    Modafinil pills - known on the drugs scene as "zombies" - are used to treat the rare sleeping disorder narcolepsy.

    The Ministry of Defence reportedly stockpiled bought thousands of pills ahead of the Iraq war but they have never been given to combat personnel.

    Defence contractor Qinetiq told the commons' science committee the drug had recently been tested for military use.

    Qinetiq scientist Dr Anna Casey told the Science and Technology Committee the MoD funded research into stimulant and performance-enhancing drugs and dietary supplements.

    "One is always looking for something that would give military personnel an extra edge," she told the committee which is investigating the use of such drugs in sport.

    'Safety concerns'

    She said the military was not under the same constraints as the International Olympic Committee, which had banned Modafinil and another stimulant, Ephedrine, which she said had also been tested by the MoD.

    But Erythropoietin, or EPO, which is used by athletics drug cheats to boost the production of red blood cells had been ruled out due to "safety concerns".

    She stressed that no illegal substances were being researched by the MoD.

    But she said Modafinil had been "shown to enhance physical and mental performance".

    "There is still research going on into things like that. It doesn't mean they are being used. We are keeping an open mind," she told the MPs.

    Modafinil has also been trialled by the US and French military but its use remains controversial.

    'Zombies'

    It works by "turning off" a person's need to sleep, and allowing them to remain mentally awake for days on end.

    Its makers say there are no side effects, but experts are worried about the drug being abused.

    In the US, where it is easier to get hold of, revising students and clubbers are known to use it to keep going.

    Speaking after Wednesday's hearing in Westminster, Dr Casey said Modafinil had recently been tested by Qinetiq, formerly known as the Defence Research Agency.

    It had not yet been approved for use by British soldiers but Qinetiq had asked the MoD for funds to carry out further tests, she said.

    "It is worthy of further research," she told the BBC News website.

    'Human science'

    Ephedrine, which is similar in effect to amphetamine or "speed", had so far been ruled out for use by British combat personnel due to its side effects, which included anxiety.

    But caffeine was "something we may well end up using in the future," she added.

    She said the MoD was also funding research into "human science", including the enhancement of the physical and mental performance of combat personnel.

    Among other things, scientists are investigating new dietary supplements and remote monitoring technology, allowing soldiers' physical performance to be tracked in the field.

    Under pressure

    The consortium will also be looking at ways of improving the performance of combat personnel in hot climates such as Iraq, to cut down the amount of time, currently about a week, needed for them to acclimatise.

    There has long been a demand for reliable stimulants for use by special forces, who may be expected to go 48 hours or more without sleep, and pilots on long flights.

    The issue came under the spotlight in April 2002, when two US military pilots mistakenly bombed a Canadian infantry unit in Afghanistan, killing four.

    During the ensuing legal arguments, the pilots' lawyers said they had felt under pressure to take amphetamines before the mission.

    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6083840.stm [26 October 2006]

Comments

  1. Riconoen {UGC}
    In other news, the sun rises in the east, then set in the west.
  2. duncdunc68
    We tried using this on a mental health service user who was sleeping 24 hours a day because of his medication./day. It sent him totally psychotic and put his treatment back 6 months.
  3. stoneinfocus
    Was he the clark or a patient?
    -"put his treatment 6 weeks back", means: he was drugged & sleeping the last 6 weeks 24/7 and modafinil made him see the insane shit you´re doing to him, which made him, of course, freak out?
  4. duncdunc68
    The drug rep's reckon it's non-stimulating.
  5. stoneinfocus
    Well, I tested it and it didn´t do hardly more than a cup of coffe to me, -stayed mentally clearer and "awake", but still felt, that I was in fact tired, and could sleep a few hours later, if I wanted to, actually, I wanted to give it a try, to quench a bit of the meth-induced dopamine depletion, if there´s any, I don´t feel any, but nonetheless, it´s there and has to be used anyhow.*lol*
  6. duncdunc68
    Just because I work in the industry doesn't mean I agree with all the shit that goes on. At the end of the day you're trying to help someone who's going through a shit load of suffering.
  7. stoneinfocus
    Yeah I know, that´s why I see it this way: The worst things done to mankind were done in a good intention....

    I´m keeping strictly to this and I hate everyone that´s helping too much, imho, someone like this has to be a kind of retarded, greedy and a lazy, sadistic bastard, or he´s plain stupid or neurotic, all in all we need more freedom to fail and to die.. come on -mothers are keen on sending their chlidren to war by the million for the interests of some greedy powers, but like shooting the guy, who passed their child a joint over and a day later her fruitcake drove drunken against a tree next day, because he had the freedom of choice to smoke dope or not, to drink an dsmoke and drive or not.

    I´ve also never seen a great benefit in modern medicine, despite of pharmacology and some surgery and the first being already spoiled and tainted by greed.

    I say, let it all be and go, as far as possilble, it has its sense, and we take away the discretness of life, sickness and death, making it all shallower and mobre boring and -yes- inhuman this way and in most cases, we only punish the chronich and hereditary sick ones with our treatement.
  8. old hippie 56
    Swim is prescribed the 200mg, his opinion of them are mixed. They do what they are supposed to, keep swim awake during the day. If a person takes them in hope of a speed type run, they will be disappointed.
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