Thursday, January 18, 2018

Drugs: then and now

Wikimedia Commons
Crystal meth, called jib on the street, has been in Winnipeg's news much too often lately. At Christmas, a young mother died of exposure after seeking help for her meth addiction. It seems to be a modern problem…a modern addiction…and yet crystal meth was a common drug in Nazi Germany.
Back then, it was called Pervitin. A recent book, Der totale Rausch (English: Blitzed) by Norman Ohler, looks at how drugs influenced the Second World War. Pervitin was invented in 1938 and by 1940 prescribed, by the millions, to troops and civilians alike. Doctors prescribed it not only for mental health issues, but also to help with childbirth or hay fever.
What’s it good for? Treats depression. Increases alertness...to the point where users don’t sleep for up to two weeks. It reduces inhibitions. too. Sounds like a combination of the effects of coffee plus alcohol.
What’s bad about it? It’s addictive. And when users can’t get the drug they crave, they become aggressive and violent.

Wouldn't be much of war if soldiers took meditation breaks. Aggression might have been a positive quality during the war, but it’s a dangerous side effect in peace times. 

Addictive drugs continue to camouflage mental health issues. Our society puts much emphasis on physical health, but it seems there's still not enough support for mind issues.
Mental health affects us all. 


1 comment:

MaryLou Driedger said...

I once talked to a doctor in China who had cared for the soldiers who killed students at Tiannamen Square. He said the soldiers had been given drugs to give them a high so they could carry out their deadly orders.