Not Saussure

October 25, 2006

The Army and doping tests

Filed under: Food, Medicine, UK — notsaussure @ 8:18 pm

All very serious, and I know I shouldn’t chuckle, but I rather liked this report from the BBC:

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 has previously denied testing the drug on troops although it reportedly bought thousands of pills ahead of the Iraq war.
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.

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.

Well, errm, quite.  The report continues,

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.

Hang on a minute,  I thought the Army already did;  according to Wikipedia,

Tea is another common source of caffeine. Tea usually contains about half as much caffeine per serving as coffee, depending on the strength of the brew.

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  1. “depending on the strength of the brew.”

    This is the crucial bit: the tea in ration packs is quite unsupportably disgusting and has to be taken with 3 or 4 sugars in it to make remotely drinkable.

    So it’s not just caffeine – there’s the sugar fix as well…


    Comment by The Pedant-General — October 26, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

  2. If they don’t have narcolepsy, why be given treatment for that? Provigil, a popular brand name of modafinil, may be a good stimulant and mind enhancer but it is not safe to be playing around with it. The side effects of Provigil may not be life threatening compared to other stimulants but we never know.

    Comment by side effects of Provigil — February 20, 2007 @ 11:33 am

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