Meth is an odorless, bitter-tasting powder that can be smoked or dissolved into a liquid. In addition to the euphoric effects that attract users, methamphetamine also causes increased energy and decreased appetite. Stronger than amphetamines, a small dosage of this drug can produce long-lasting and intense side effects.
As a drug and alcohol treatment center in Delaware, we understand the history of meth and why it’s been used in the past for a variety of reasons. Our team is exploring the connection between meth and WWII as well as the role this intense stimulant played in Nazi Germany.
Methamphetamine was first synthesized in Germany in the 1880s but wasn’t released in the market until the 1920s.1 It was originally used to treat narcolepsy, asthma, weight loss, and nasal congestion. When methamphetamine hit the German markets under the name of Pervitin in the 1930s, it was considered a miracle drug. Despite the discouragement of recreational drug use at the time, meth usage in Nazi Germany became common amongst those fighting in the war. Pervitin was the early version of methamphetamine and was given to compound fighters and pilots to keep them alert for days at a time. Meth’s ability to boost energy, reduce fatigue, decrease appetite, and produce an overall sense of well being made it a beneficial substance for soldiers in Nazi Germany. Unlike alcohol or heroin, meth wasn’t considered a recreational drug, but rather a substance meant for physical enhancement. It was considered the perfect war drug.
Adolf Hitler is known for his horrible crimes against humanity, which were fueled by his intense desire to uphold a certain race. It’s no wonder he encouraged the use of methamphetamine amongst his soldiers when its effects were discovered. As a stimulant, it was thought to increase the average person’s ability and help to create “superhuman soldiers.” These soldiers were eventually considered machines and were continuously given Pervitin in order to keep them moving constantly.
Unfortunately, the dangers of meth were ignored for several decades. Continuous Pervitin use in Nazi Germany led to many cases of meth-related overdoses and deaths. Many soldiers died from heart failure or overdose while others committed suicide during psychotic episodes. Due to a lack of medically monitored detox and addiction treatments, soldiers who developed methamphetamine addictions and struggled with withdrawal symptoms and other side effects like hallucinations, psychosis, and depression. It wasn’t until the 1970s that meth became illegal in the United States.
The connection between meth and WWII proves how little was known about drug addiction at the time. Nowadays, meth is known by many as an addictive and harmful drug. Many individuals who develop a meth dependency require meth addiction treatment in order to become sober. At Banyan Treatment Centers Delaware, we offer a residential treatment program that separates addicts from the distractions of their home environments, allowing them to focus on their recovery.