Aimo Koivunen

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Aimo Koivunen
Aimo Koivunen.png
Aimo Allan Koivunen

(1917-10-17)17 October 1917
Died12 August 1989(1989-08-12) (aged 71)
Years active1939–1944

Aimo Allan Koivunen (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]


Koivunen was assigned duty on a ski patrol 15 March 1944, along with several other men. Three days into their mission, 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 of high-speed travel, but could not stop. He was also the sole carrier of army-issue Pervitin, or methamphetamine, a stimulant used to remain awake while on duty.[3] Koivunen had trouble pulling out a single pill, so he poured 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, and lay in a ditch for a week waiting for help.[4] After traveling more than 400 km (250 miles) on skis, he was found and admitted to a nearby hospital, where his heart rate was measured at 200 beats per minute, double the average human heartbeat,[5] and weighing only 43 kg (94 pounds).[4] In the week he was gone, he subsisted only on pine buds and a single Siberian jay that he caught and ate raw.[4]


  1. ^ "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.