British MoD Poured Thousands of Pounds Into 'Smart Drugs' To Help Troops Stay Awake, Report Claims

© Flickr / UK Ministry of Defence / British troops
British troops - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.04.2022
A so-called "smart drug" modafinil is a central nervous system stimulant that makes it easy to focus and increase productivity without sleeping for more than 24 hours. The mechanism of the drug is not fully understood, and it is only legal to buy in the UK if you have been diagnosed with narcolepsy or some other sleep disorder.
The UK Ministry of Defence has been buying a controversial "smart drug" for British troops since 2013, having poured some £800,000 (more than $1 million) into the medication, The Daily Mail reported, citing the MoD's response to its Freedom of Information request.
According to the British daily newspaper, the ministry bought more than 12,500 pills of modafinil between 2013 and 2021, with the questionable medicine capable of keeping soldiers awake in combat for 40 hours straight.
Since 2016, it has been illegal to buy modafinil in the United Kingdom without prescription, but, according to some reports, many students and businessmen admitted to having experimented with the so-called "smart drugs" to increase productivity.
Modafinil boosts your energy just like "20 cups of coffee" may do, according to The Daily Mail, and has no short-term after-effects such as jitteriness. However, it does have long-term effects such as arrhythmia, agitation, high blood pressure and a weakening of the immune system.
Some believe that modafinil was an inspiration for a fictional drug used by the character of Bradley Cooper in the film 'Limitless' that enabled him to use 100 percent of his brain power, while boosting hid energy and intellect.
In real life, modafinil has been eyed by military experts as a potential means of keeping servicemen alert during day-night combat operations. In 2012, a US study found that modafinil "maintained alertness, feelings of wellbeing, cognitive function, judgment, risk perception, and situation awareness of sleep-deprived aviators consistently better than placebo and without side effects of aeromedical concern."
The study even claimed that it "appears to be a good alternative to dextroamphetamine for countering the debilitating mood and cognitive effects of sleep loss during sustained operations."
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