Aimo Koivunen

Aimo Allan Koivunen (IPA: [ɑi̯mo ɑlːɑn koi̯ʋunen]), (17 October 1917 – 12 August 1989) was a Finnish soldier in the Continuation War and the first documented case of a soldier overdosing on methamphetamine during combat.[1]

Aimo Koivunen
Koivunen in 1943
Birth nameAimo Allan Koivunen
Born(1917-10-17)17 October 1917
Alastaro, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire
Died12 August 1989(1989-08-12) (aged 71)
Jyväskylä, Finland
Allegiance Finland
BranchFinnish Army
Years of service1939–1944
ConflictWorld War II

Early lifeEdit

Aimo Allan Koivunen was born in Alastaro, Grand Duchy of Finland on 17 October 1917 to Frans Vihtori Koivunen and Aune Sofia Koivunen, they had six children, Aimo was the eldest.[2]

Experience during the Continuation WarEdit

Koivunen was a Finnish soldier, assigned to a ski patrol on 20 April 1944, along with several other Finnish soldiers. Three days into their mission, on 18 March, the group was attacked and surrounded by Soviet forces, from whom they were able to escape.[3] Koivunen became fatigued after skiing for a long distance, but could not stop. He was carrying his patrol's entire supply of army-issued Pervitin, or methamphetamine, a stimulant used to remain awake while on duty.[4] He consumed the entire supply of Pervitin, and had a short burst of energy, but soon entered a state of delirium, and eventually lost consciousness. Koivunen later recalled waking up the following morning, separated from his patrol, and having no supplies.[5] In the following days, he escaped Soviet forces once again, was injured by a land mine, and stayed in a ditch for a week, waiting for help.[5] Having skied more than 400 km (248.5 mi) he was found and admitted to a nearby hospital, where his heart rate was measured at 200 beats per minute, and he weighed only 43 kg (94.8 lbs).[5] In the week that Koivunen was gone, he subsisted only on pine buds and a single Siberian jay that he caught, and ate raw. He was found, and survived, until he died in 1989 at the age of 71.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Aimo Allan Koivunen". 2016. Archived from the original on 4 November 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Aimo Koivunen". 27 April 2022. Archived from the original on 7 December 2022. Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  3. ^ Länkinen, Tiina (9 March 2015). "Onko mummolassa metamfetamiinia kaapin perällä? – "Ei todellakaan kannata kokeilla"". UUTISET. Archived from the original on 13 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  4. ^ Pruitt, Sarah (21 November 2016). "Inside the Drug Use That Fueled Nazi Germany". The History Channel. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Rantanen, Miska (28 May 2002). "Finland: History: Amphetamine Overdose In Heat Of Combat". Helsingin Sanomat. Archived from the original on 11 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.