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Armed Forces

  • By: Larry Ashley & Meghan Elizabeth Pierce
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Throughout history, soldiers in many armies have used drugs. Evidence suggests that numerous armies have even provided drugs to their soldiers during times of war. Soldiers on both sides of the American Revolutionary War, for example, routinely received rum as part of their rations. During the American Civil War, soldiers' rations included a mixture of opium and alcohol to help control dysentery and relax the troops before a battle. Prussian soldiers during the Wars of German Unification and English soldiers during World War I were provided cocaine.

During World War II, the Japanese government contracted with pharmaceutical companies to produce methamphetamine for their soldiers, and the U.S. military issued amphetamine tablets to bomber crews and jungle fighters. Although warriors have used drugs for centuries with permission ...

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