Come On Kids, Join The Air Force And Get Free Drugs

by James Glaser
August 5, 2002

US Jet fighter pilots, responsible for at least 10 deadly "friendly fire" accidents in the Afghanistan war, have regularly been given amphetamines to fly longer hours, reports William Walker of the Toronto Star. Once again Americans have to learn of our faux pas by the foreign press. Last time it was a Australian paper, the Sidney Herald breaking the TIPS program, of Americans spying on Americans.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force Surgeon-General's Office in Washington confirmed pilots are given the stimulant Dexedrine, generically known as dextroamphetamine, to stay alert during combat missions.

Pilots refer to Dexedrine as "go-pills." The sleeping pills they are given called Ambien (zolpidem) and Restoril (temazepam), are referred to as "no-go pills." So any of you older hippies out there could tell the Air Force how hard that combination is on both the mind and body. "Better bombing through chemistry" remarked John Pike, director of a Washington area defense policy think tank.

Pilots have no choice if they want to take these drugs or not according to Air Force insiders. First there is the consent form entitled, "Informed Consent For Operational Use of Dexedrine," which starts out with "It has been explained to me and I understand that the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of Dexedrine to manage fatigue... (and) I further understand that the decision to take this medication is mine alone.

Those Insiders say however that the form also states, "should I choose not to take it (Dexedrine) under circumstances where its use appears commander, upon advice of the flight surgeon, may determine whether or not I should be considered unfit to fly my mission." That tells pilots to do the drugs or have the chance of getting grounded. Pilots know "unfit to fly" reports, will kill their career.

A Top Gun document, Performance Maintenance During Continuos Flight Operations, reports that in an anonymous survey among pilots who flew in Desert Storm, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, 60% said they used Dexedrine. In units that saw the most frequent combat missions, usage was as high as 96%.

Who ever coined that phrase SPEED KILLS never dreamed how true that could be. Every truck driver knows what "DEX" is and most people know how going on a "speed run" will really fog your mind. Combine the speed with the downers that the Air Force call no-go pills and you have a real deadly combination. Parents of service people that have died in flight accidents, should be asking this question, "Were those pilots on a roller coaster of drugs?"

America has a War on Drugs, I guess it all depends on what "on" means.

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