Mefloquine, the military's own zombie potion
Military Works To Limit Malaria Drug In Midst Of Afghanistan Massacre
By Mark Benjamin
The Pentagon is in the midst of a widespread review of the military’s use of a notorious anti-malaria drug after finding out that the pills have been wrongly given to soldiers with preexisting problems, including brain injuries such as the one sustained by the U.S. soldier who allegedly massacred 17 civilians in Afghanistan.
Mefloquine, also called Lariam, has severe psychiatric side effects. Problems include psychotic behavior, paranoia and hallucinations. The drug has been implicated in numerous suicides and homicides, including deaths in the U.S. military. For years the military has used the weekly pill to help prevent malaria among deployed troops.
The U.S. Army nearly the dropped use of mefloquine entirely in 2009 because of the dangers, now only using it in limited circumstances, including sometimes in Afghanistan. The 2009 order from the Army said soldiers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury should not be given the drug.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of grisly Afghanistan murders of men, women and children on March 17, suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2010 during his third combat tour. According to New York Times reporting, repeated combat tours also increase the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Bales' wife, Karilyn Bales, broke her silence in an interview Sunday with NBC's Matt Lauer, airing on Monday's Today show. "It is unbelievable to me. I have no idea what happened, but he would not -- he loves children. He would not do that," she said in excerpts released Sunday.
On Jan. 17, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson ordered a review to make sure that troops were not getting the drug inappropriately. The task order from Woodson begins: "Some deploying Service members have been provided mefloquine for malaria prophylaxis without appropriate documentation in their medical records and without proper screening for contraindications."
On March 20, after the massacre, a follow-up order was sent to the southwest region that says troops in "deployed locations" may be improperly taking the drug...
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