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The Nation : Military Studying Stimulants for Soldiers

September 07, 1988

The military is studying the potential consequences of giving "speed" and other stimulants to soldiers fighting severe sleep deprivation, an Army spokesman said. A status report by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research on its study of various stimulants says military officials expect to give drugs to troops in the field "in the near future." The objective, said Ben Smith of the institute in Washington, is to find drugs that can keep troops alert and sharp after several days without sleep. But the spokesman said scientists' concerns about the side effects of some drugs, particularly speed and other amphetamines, puts their possible use in doubt. He said speed's effects are being studied because it is "the granddaddy of a whole class of drugs," but it is unlikely to be adopted for use.

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