Aimo Koivunen

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

Aimo Koivunen
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

Military escapadesEdit

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 which they managed to escape.[2] Koivunen became fatigued after skiing for a long distance, but could not stop. He was also the sole carrier of army-issued Pervitin, or methamphetamine, a stimulant used to remain awake while on duty.[3] Koivunen had trouble pulling out a single pill, so he emptied the entire bottle of thirty capsules into his hand and took them all.

He had a short burst of energy, but then entered into a state of delirium, and lost consciousness. Koivunen remembered waking up the following morning, separated from his patrol and having no supplies.[4] In the following days, he escaped Soviet forces once again, was injured by a land mine which also set fire to a nearby Russian camp , and laid in a ditch for a week waiting for help.[4] Having skied more than 400 km he was found and admitted to a nearby hospital, where his heart rate was measured at 200 beats per minute, triple the average human heartbeat,[5] and weighing only 43 kg.[4] In the week Koivunen was gone, he subsisted only on pine buds and a single Siberian jay that he caught and ate raw. He ended up surviving and died peacefully at the age of 71.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Aimo Allan Koivunen". 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  2. ^ Länkinen, Tiina (9 March 2015). "Onko mummolassa metamfetamiinia kaapin perällä? – "Ei todellakaan kannata kokeilla"". UUTISET. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  3. ^ Pruitt, Sarah (21 November 2016). "Inside the Drug Use That Fueled Nazi Germany". The History Channel. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Rantanen, Miska (28 May 2002). "Finland: History: Amphetamine Overdose In Heat Of Combat". Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ Laskowski, Edward R. (29 August 2018). "What's a normal resting heart rate?". Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved 19 October 2018.