Anti-sleep drugs for UK troops

alert_eye.jpgSurely this isn’t news? BBC News is reporting that ‘stay-up-forever’ drug modafinil has been tested on UK troops.

The drug, which prevents sleep and increases cognitive performance but does not cause the same ‘wired’ effect as amphetamines, has been used by the US military for several years.

One of the problems with amphetamines, the previous military drug of choice, is that over time it vastly increases the risk of paranoia and psychosis (obviously not good for heavily armed soldiers), whereas the risk with modafinil seems, at least at this stage, to be minimal in comparison.

It has been previously reported that the UK Ministry of Defence bought thousands of doses of modafinil prior to 2004.

It’s hardly a shock that they’ve been given to troops in an attempt to give them a cognitive edge over the opposition.

Did anyone really think that they were bought in case there was a massive influx of soldiers with narcolepsy?

One bizarre aspect, however, is the BBC News story reports that modafinil pills are called ‘zombies’ on the “drug scene”.

Modafinil is noted as having virtually no pleasurable effects, making it a poor candidate for a recreational drug. Furthermore, there seems to be few references to the nickname on the net.

One Comment

  1. Posted October 29, 2006 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    One would imagine that – after the war – the shrinks (no offence, really) will have a time with getting these fellows back to sleep.
    Here’s the current street use of ‘zombie’ — Zombie – Heavy user of drugs, PCP — from http://www.pride.org/slangdrugterms.HTM#Z
    Maybe the ‘namespace’ zombie is too heavily occupied to pick up what might be military uses right now. Or the BBC might not be perfect. Um, no, that doesn’t sound right.
    sabadash.us


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