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    How Ambien Helped Kill Osama bin Laden

    Written by

    Brian Anderson

    Let’s talk about some of the details trickling out of No Easy Day, Navy SEAL Matt Bissonette’s firsthand retelling of the bin Laden raid, for a minute. There’s the cover story, for one. Should the dark-of-night sweep on the Abbottabad compound really have screwed the pooch the troops were under orders to march in lockstep in telling folks that, no, we weren’t carrying out a hit on the world’s most wanted man. We were tracking down a lost drone.

    One of the more truly head-shaken revelations, though, is that the SEALs ate a bunch of Ambien on the eve of the raid. Dudes just couldn’t sleep. Understandably so. And yet it’s pretty remarkable that dudes were able to clear the fogs of a mass, pilled hangover to pull off the whole bang-up – and put on those $65,000 night-vision specs the right way – with only a few hitches.

    It’s part and parcel of systemic drug use throughout the Armed Forces. In 2011 alone, upwards of 110,000 active-duty troops were on antidepressants, sedatives, and a veritable constellation of other prescription meds. And that’s just the Army, and legal substances. Who knows how many cuts of that fine Colombian marching powder, to pull just one illicit head-feed from the barrel, were racked to liven up the malaise of war. Licit highs and meds doled out to those in uniform are even more plentiful. Here are just a few.

    Go Pills

    Or, speed. Because who are we kidding? You’re about to man a 19-hour flight. Pop a few tablets of Dexedrine, a prescription amphetamine, and smash through to Mach 15.

    Mosquito Repellant


    Kind of, sort of. Maybe you’ve heard of “Mefloquine rage,” violent fits of anger, paranoia, and suicidal leanings wrought on by the antimalarial drug given troops in Afghanistan.


    Oh, wow.

    Top: SEAL Team 6 (via)

    Reach this writer at brian@motherboard.tv. @thebanderson