It would seem that the story with the German "Pervitin" should have shown that it is safer for soldiers to rely in battle only on their own strength, and not on chemistry. At first, the American command reasoned this way: loss of strength, illness, lack of normal sleep are the "standard" costs of any armed conflict, even if it is on a global scale. And their people will cope with the unpleasant consequences on their own. However, the pharmaceutical market never sleeps, and business is business even during the war. So, the soldier's first-aid kits got "magic" pills and miracle inhalers.
Of course, at first everything developed quite harmlessly. After a super-successful campaign for the Third Reich to occupy France in 1940, the role of "doping" in it began to be studied not only by the Germans themselves, but also by the Allies. The first to undertake research in the UK, however, the proximity to the main theaters of war slowed down the study process. In this sense, the USA was much easier: Hitler had not yet set his sights on the ocean. And the Americans slowly, but with their inherent scale, began to conduct experiments.
The first studies started at the Northwestern University Medical Center through the National Research Committee. In parallel, a series of experiments was begun by the military at the Center for Aviation Medicine. The role of the test subjects was performed by military personnel of various branches of the military - from infantrymen to tankmen and pilots, as well as student volunteers. Scientists tested the effect on the body of psychostimulants of various origins and composition - caffeine, ephedrine, as well as synthetic substances based on amphetamine, methamphetamine, etc. There was also a group of subjects who received placebo drugs.
The participants in the experiment were subjected to various physical loads - training on simulators and a centrifuge, running long marches and crosses, as well as routes on armored vehicles and flights. In addition, research was practiced in special conditions, such as a pressure chamber.
The results of the study of American scientists in the main parameters differed little from the results of the work of their British colleagues. Objectively, no increase in performance and endurance was observed in the subjects taking stimulants. Moreover, it turned out that caffeine was almost as effective as a synthetic substance as a remedy for fatigue.
However, subjective impressions often ran counter to the results of scientific research. So, the subjects who took "chemistry" noted a surge of strength and vigor. In addition, synthetic drugs were characterized by milder symptoms in case of an overdose, in contrast to the same caffeine.
As a result, the researchers and the military command agreed on a certain compromise: there were no special indications for the use of psychostimulants, however, if a decision is made to supply these drugs to the army, then the choice should be stopped on a specific drug - Benzedrine. However, further research was not completed. It seemed that this tacit agreement satisfied everyone, but then "forces from outside" intervened.
In 1942, when the American troops were already fighting with might and main, both on land and in the ocean, there was a certain "exchange of experience" with British colleagues at the front. They had been practicing the use of "doping" for quite some time, which was quickly taught to the US Army soldiers. And then the Americans were outraged: why should they spend their personal finances on the purchase of "Benzedrine", which, in fact, is produced in their homeland? Moreover, the allies, thanks to Lend-Lease, pay nothing at all for the miracle drug.
At first, the American command did not react in any way to such requests from its soldiers. But then the "third force" intervened - the merchants of the pharmaceutical market. The benzidrin was produced by Smith, Klein and French, and its vice president, Francis Boyer, personally approached the US Assistant Secretary of War. The firm was very worried about the fact that the native American army did not buy "vigor medicine" from them. And this is when the allies appreciated the effect of the drug.
At first, the command tried to send active entrepreneurs home, building on the results of their own research on stimulants. However, the company had an "ace up its sleeve": in response, they presented a report by British scientists, who relied not on laboratory experiments, but directly on "real field research in a combat situation." At the same time, they omitted an important detail: these "front-line experiments" were based solely on the subjective feelings of the soldiers.
And the command of the US Army surrendered. Since February 1943, the Ground Forces Supply Directorate has decided to supply 600,000 Benzedrine Sulfate tablets to the groups fighting in North Africa and Australia each month. The special demand for the drug was in the air forces - inhalers were even made for the pilots with the drug in the form of a powder, which were absorbed faster into the blood through the mucous membrane.
In just a couple of months, the Navy and the Marine Corps also joined the list of Bensedrin's customers. Most of all, the inhalers were liked by the crews of the Katalin patrolmen, who were awake at the post for quite a long time: according to Novate.ru, their standard flight lasted from 12 to 16 hours. The Marines, on the other hand, sometimes used Benzidrine as a medicine for seasickness or other problems with the vestibular apparatus.
Interesting fact: in the same place, in the Navy, the drug was invented by the affectionate nickname "Benny".
Of course, the US Department of War was well aware of the consequences of the uncontrolled use of psychostimulants. Therefore, it was imperative that a warning was placed on each package of tablets and a vial of an inhaler that this drug should be taken only in special cases and only with the sanction of commanders. However, it is not at all surprising that with the availability of "Benzidrin", few people paid attention to these warnings.
Continuing the topic: What did the soldiers of the Third Reich take during the blitzkrieg in Poland to stay awake for two days