Some Opiods and ATS stats

“End-Hauptbereichsverspannungsmedikamente für Nacknmuskuleere Speerre” collaborative artwork by artists group “Entente Sublimale”

More or less recently I had seen a video in which a famous politician was talking in a way which gave me the impression that this person was on drugs. I may have been wrong, but still. It should be said that in the video the person had to comment on a very tragic event and that was sofar the only time where I saw this politician in this state.
Then there was also Jeroen Dijsselbloems recent controversial remarks about economic failures due to alcohol and women and the following discussions, where it was e.g. remarked that after taking interest payments away, the economics of the Netherlands seems to look actually worse than that of Southern Europe. All this made me look a bit at examples of drugs and in particular opiods in connection with economics and politics.

In the Washington Post article “Americans use far more opioids than anyone else in the world” of march 2015 by professor Keith Humphreys a graphical overview over some countries’ opiod uses is given. The data is from the INCB report 2016 (interestingly the Washington Post now keeps its own copy). As far as I understood the INCB (International Narcotics Control Board) covers the legal narcotic drugs. Illicit drugs are referenced in the UNDOC reports.
Anyways as you can see in this graphics (or in the table in the report on page 226) Germany ranks third in opiod use, which is -if you know a bit from Germany’s history – not without brisance. I will come back to this later.

It is useful to recap a bit about the different types of drugs.
According to this graphics (or the INCB report) the top opiod pain killers used in the US were Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Fentanyl. All have a high danger of addiction.

In the US those pain killers, handed out in prescriptions led to something which is now called an epidemic – according to business insider:

In 1991, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that doctors wrote 76 million prescriptions. By 2011, that number had hit 219 million.
The explosion in prescriptions has subsequently led to an explosion in overdoses and abuse, leading the federal government to dub opioid abuse an epidemic.

The New York times had made a visualization of deaths from overdoses where it can be seen how especially rural areas are affected by the epidemic. How this affects concrete families is described in the article:
“2 of a Farmer’s 3 Children Overdosed. What of the Third — and the Land?”
And apparently too fastly cutting down on pain killers apparently made things worse and let amongst others to heroin addiction.
I haven’t heard yet that opiod use was called an epidemic in Germany, although according to the report and the table XIV.1.a. on page 226 Germany uses 30796 vs. 47580 (US) daily doses per million inhabitants per day. That is about two third of the US consumption. The biggest amounts are here though not Hydrocodone like in the US but Fentanyl – the drug which apparently killed the musician Prince.

Here a diagram made from numbers in the report (p. 249-250) about the rise of global use of opiods. Have a look at the jump in 2008:

It should also be said that opiods are not the only addictive “medical” drugs but for example in the US Metamphetamine is apparently prescribed for treating obesity and ADHD. Since it is not narcotic it is not mentioned in the INCB report.
Methamphetamine, also known as Crystal Meth, had played also a role in World War II under the name Pervitin. Amongst others it was called “Panzerschokolade” (“tank chocolate”) or Stuka-Tablette (“dive bomber pill”). Methamphetamine is a substituted amphetamine, so it belongs to the family of amphetamines for which corresponding pharmaceutical products are e.g. called Adderall, Dyanavel XR, and Evekeo and which are apparently not too uncommon among students.

I tried to gather some statistics concerning amphetamine type drugs. The following bar chart is assembled from the World Drug Report 2010 and 2016 (Fig 192 p.208 in WDR 2010, 2000-2008 and Fig. 65 p. 53, 2009-2014) which displays the seizures of Amphitamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) worldwide in tons. The diagram has to be taken with a grain of salt, because for 2009-2014 there were no explicit values listed and so I just read the values of the diagram. (Unfortunately the data itself is spread over different world regions in the UNDC tables coming with different units, so it would have been too much work to calculate the numbers from the tables directly. There is a somewhat similar overview in the WDR 2016 page xii intro).

Not known or forgotten by many – already in World War II Methamphetamine was leading to a kind of drug epidemic among the german soldiers. Moreover Nazi leaders were addicted including Hitler himself who used the above mentioned drug Oxycodone and cocaine. The brand name for the Oxycodone pills were at this time Eukodal. According to the book “Blitzed” by Norman Ohler:

When Hitler fell seriously ill in 1941, however, the vitamin injections that Morell had counted on no longer had any effect – and so he began to ramp things up. First, there were injections of animal hormones for this most notorious of vegetarians, and then a whole series of ever stronger medications until, at last, he began giving him a “wonder drug” called Eukodal, a designer opiate and close cousin of heroin whose chief characteristic was its potential to induce a euphoric state in the patient (today it is known as oxycodone). It wasn’t long before Hitler was receiving injections of Eukodal several times a day. Eventually he would combine it with twice daily doses of the high grade cocaine he had originally been prescribed for a problem with his ears, following an explosion in the Wolf’s Lair, his bunker on the eastern front.

->related randform post Virtual asset sizes

17 Responses to “Some Opiods and ATS stats”

  1. Richard Says:

    I recommend you to listen to e.g. this World War II History Lesson (Crash course # 38) at around minute 8:15, citation from the video:

    “Now it’s easy to claim that Hitler was crazy and evil and in fact he was certainly both, but that doesn’t explain the Nazi’s decision to invade Russia and it sure doesn’t explain Japan’s decision to bomb Pearl Harbour and there are many possible explanations beyond mere evil. But the most interesting one to me involves food. Hitler had a number of reasons to expand Germany’s territory but he often talked about “Lebensraum” or “living space” for the german people. German agriculture was really inefficiently organized into lots of small farms and that meant that Germany needed a lot of land in order to be self-sufficient in food production. The plan was to take Poland Ukraine and eastern Russia and then resettle that land with lots of Germans so that it could feed german people. This was called the “Hunger Plan” because the plan called for 20 million people to starve to death. Many would be the Poles Ukrainians and Russians that previously lived on the land, the rest would be Europe’s jews that would be worked to death. 6 million jews were killed by the Nazi’s. Many by starvation, but many by a chillingly planned effort of extermination in death camps. These death camps can be distinguished from concentration camps or labour camps in that their primary purpose was extermination of jews, Roma people, communists, homosexuals, disabled people and others that the Nazi’s deemed unfit. Some historians believe that the Nazi’s opened the death camps becaus the jews weren’t dying as fast as the “Hunger plan” had intended. This was a sickening plan, but it made a kind of demented sense – rather than becoming more involved in global trade as the British had, the Germans would feed themselves by taking land and killing the people who’d previously lived there.”

  2. nad Says:

    I mentioned the drug problems around WWII within Germany and in particular Hitlers drug problems as a component which I think played a role in WWII but I certainly wouldn’t claim that those drug problems could “explain the Nazi’s decision to invade Russia.”

    Moreover although I wouldn’t call food the “most interesting” reason for the invasion, it is right that food and the economy in general played a role in the rise of Hitler and they played a role in WWII war decisions. I think though it is debatable to what extend the average “farm size” played a major role in those Reich economics problems.

    Anyways even if Hitlers mental state certainly played a role it is unclear how important this component was. Finally Hitler wasn’t acting alone, in fact he was elected and even his quasi-plenary powers which he gained by the Enabling Act were approved by a rather big share of the members of the parliament. That is if the centre party would have voted against the Enabling Act then he would have missed the two third majority and his rise to power would have been at least more difficult.

    From Wikipedia:

    Although they received five million more votes than in the previous election, the Nazis failed to gain an absolute majority in parliament, and depended on the 8% of seats won by their coalition partner, the German National People’s Party, for a slim majority of 52%.

    To free himself from this dependency, Hitler had the cabinet, in its first post-election meeting on 15 March, draw up plans for an Enabling Act which would give the cabinet legislative power for four years. The Nazis devised the Enabling Act to gain complete political power without the need of the support of a majority in the Reichstag and without the need to bargain with their coalition partners.

  3. sue54 Says:

    ooo what gloomy discussion here!
    Think you better let bygones be bygones and discuss more merriful things. Like magic, golden carriages, fairies….:
    love and peace to all


  4. Richard Says:

    It is hard to comprehend that the Nazi’s deemed the jews as “unfit” – such a loss of reality is even for megalomanic all brawns remarkable, finally there were distinguished professors and even Nobel laureats fleeing the country which led to an enormous brain drain in Germany.

  5. Richard Says:

    I just say: Albert Einstein, John von Neumann, Robert Oppenheimer etc.

  6. Kent Says:

    Richard said:

    such a loss of reality is even for megalomanic all brawns remarkable

    This particular Nazi attitude may be very deeply rooted in german culture. There is an interesting article at foreign policy about Germany’s “Besserwisserei” . Some excerpts:

    But it’s increasingly clear that one country’s allegedly evidence-based Besserwisserei is another country’s intolerable smugness.


    Besserwisserei may be a cultural trait that reaches back centuries…

    You probably know about “aranyan physics” or “Deutsche Physik”.

  7. Jürgen Schmitz Says:

    Please take into account that especially for officers it was hard to do something against the “brown pest”, i.e. the Nazi’s, because they had sworn an oath. Unfortunately I have only found this artcle here in german about a documentary which deals with the officers resistance, it documents amongst others the Oster Conspiracy and Operation Valkyrie. I don’t know if the film exists in english:
    From the article:

    “Im Grunde beginnt die Dokumentation, die Maurice Philip Remy über die Offiziere gegen Hitler gedreht hat, an diesem Tag, am Tag des Eides. Und sie handelt davon, wie einige Männer sich über Jahre aus diesem Eid zu befreien suchten, wie schwer es ihnen fiel, und wie sie am Ende doch ihr Leben einsetzen, nicht für Hitler, wie sie es geschworen hatten, sondern dafür, ihn umzubringen.”


    The documentation about the officers against Hitler, which was made by Maurice Philipp Remy starts basically on this day on the day of oath. And it displays how some men tried to free themselves from this oath and how in the end they sacrified their lifes, not for Hitler, how they had sworn, but for killing him.

  8. 민송민송민정 Says:

    It is not only drugs that are a problem in western world but also nutrition.
    I am not sure whether everything should be automatized in the way as shown as here:
    but it seems that a more stringently structured, intelligent food experience is necessary.

  9. Brandon Says:

    I would like to mention that in the US there are practical counter actions which adress the opiod crisis in a truly smart way – like this wristband detects overdoses:

  10. morphiumism Says:

    Morell ?! – Hitler had a french doctor who fed him drugs ?! – wow!

  11. nad Says:

    Morell ?! – Hitler had a french doctor who fed him drugs ?! – wow!

    I don’t understand why you meant that Morell was a french doctor.

    Theodor Morell was born in Trais-Münzenberg in Upper Hesse.and raised in Germany. According to the website Deutsche Biographie his parents were Karl Morell (1857-n. 1933), primary school teacher in Trais-Münzenberg and Elise Häuser (1857–1933) who came from a farmer’s family. There is only a slight french family connection – that is the Morell’s were Huguenotes which came to Friedrichsdorf in 1687 with other Huguenottes. Actually very close-by Morells with a higher social status than that of a primary school teacher also emigrated, like the father of tabacco manufacturer George Christophe Morell. If this sounds like a lot of Morells in that region one has to note that Morell is a not too untypical french name. It is even connected to nobility.
    So the family had been living for roughly 200 years in Germany before Theodor was born.

    The only other apparent “french connection” was that Theodor Morell studied a couple of semesters in Grenoble and Paris, but that doesn’t make him a french doctor.

  12. Historian Says:

    If Morell would have been a french spy then he would have killed Hitler right at the beginning of the war, at least during the battle of France:

    By the end of the war, some 580,000 French citizens had died (40,000 of these by the western Allied forces during the bombardments of the first 48 hours of Operation Overlord). Military deaths were 92,000 in 1939–40. Some 58,000 were killed in action from 1940 to 1945 fighting in the Free French forces. Some 40,000 malgré-nous (“against our will”, citizens of the re-annexed Alsace-Lorraine province drafted into the Wehrmacht) became casualties. Civilian casualties amounted to around 150,000 (60,000 by aerial bombing, 60,000 in the resistance and 30,000 murdered by German occupation forces). Prisoners of war and deportee totals were around 1,900,000. Of these, around 240,000 died in captivity. An estimated 40,000 were prisoners of war, 100,000 racial deportees, 60,000 political prisoners and 40,000 died as slave labourers.[221]

  13. morphiumism Says:

    @nad @Historian
    What do you think about the death of Reinhard Heydrich after the Operation Anthropoid?
    In the Biography of Reinhard Heydrich by Robert Gerwarth it is written that:

    Trotz starker Schmerzen lehnte Heydrich es aber ab, sich von einem Arzt der Klinik operieren zu lassen – zu groß war mittlerweile seine Paranoia und sein Misstrauen gegen jeden Tschechen. Vielmehr verlangte er, einen Spezialisten aus Berlin herbeizutelefonieren, der ihn operieren sollte. Um die Mittagszeit willigte er schließlich in einen Kompromiss ein: die Opera-tion sollte von einem Team lokaler Spezialisten unter der Leitung von Professor Josef a. hohlbaum von der deutschen chirurgischen Klinik Prag durchgeführt werden. Himmler und Hitler, die man sofort von dem Attentat in Kenntnis gesetzt hatte, schickten dennoch ihre Leibärzte Professor Karl Gebhardt und Dr. Theodor Morell nach Prag.[37]

    Despite his strong pains Heydrich refused to undergo surgery by a doctor of the clinic – his paranoia and distrust of czechs had meanwhile become too big. In fact he demanded to call in a specialist from Berlin, who should perform the surgery. Around noon he agreed to a compromise: The surgery should be done by a team of local specialists under the control of Josef A. Hohlbaum from the german chirurgical clinic Prag. Himmler and Hitler, which were immediately informed about the assassination attempt, sent though their personal physicians Professor Karl Gebhardt and Dr. Theodor Morell.

    Heydrich first seemed to recover, but then seven days after the attack he more or less suddenly collapsed and died.

  14. Historian Says:


    I don’t know what this question is supposed to insinuate. Do you want to suggest that Morell killed Heydrich? This doesn’t make sense already for the fact that Hitler was certainly more important than Heydrich. Heydrich was subordinate to Hitler. Why kill the subordinate and let the decision maker alive?

  15. Lucy Helfer Says:

    Thanks for the drug- and also the game industry statistics, Can you provide us with more recent numbers?

    You wrote:

    in World War II Methamphetamine was leading to a kind of drug epidemic among the german soldiers.

    It should be added that towards the end of the war german soldiers were given even stronger drugs, like the D-IX pills which were a mixture of 5 mg Oxycodone (Eukodal), 5 mg Kokain und 3 mg Methamphetamin (Pervitin), a mixture that was invented by Nazidoctor Gerhard Orzechovski.

    The book “Blitzed” has now a video documentary and starting at minute 38.05 you can hear Norman Ohler talk about Orzechovski’s “medication”.

  16. zugig Says:

    I miss somehow a discussion about self-control. I think it is problematic to invariably stage drug abusers as dismal victims. Former Purdue boss R. Sackler wrote:

    …we have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.

    I understand that in view of the opiod crisis one may find this opinion disturbing, but I think one should at least discuss drug abuse in conjunction with self-control. It should also be said that Sackler is now actively participating in a mitigation of the crisis by a new patent for a treatment for opioid use disorder according to businessinsider.

  17. Narcowatch Says:

    Could you please provide some info about gang crime numbers? Given the recent incidents for example in Kista and Norsborg this seems to be on the rise.

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