...As "Go Pills" Fuel Military Pilots
Of course, drugs in the cockpit are nothing new. U.S. Air Force flight surgeons frequently supply amphetamines to pilots for long flights and in demanding combat situations -- a practice not without controversy. Also known as "speed," and, in the military, as "go pills," amphetamines are considered essential by some in the military to maintaining a top-notch fighting force. Their use was not publicly well-known until the drugs were implicated in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan in 2002, in which an American F-16 pilot mistakenly dropped a laser-guided bomb on Canadian soldiers, killing four of them. According to an ABC 20/20 report, the pilot, Maj. Harry Schmidt, had taken a "go pill" about an hour before he saw the Canadians engaged in a live-fire exercise. Although told by controllers in a nearby AWACS plane to hold his fire, Schmidt was convinced his aircraft was under attack and dropped the bomb.