John Petro

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John Petro, called 'The Junkie's Friend',[1] was Polish and came to the UK in 1916. During the War he worked as a doctor with Alexander Fleming giving penicillin to the troops. In 1966, having been run down by a car, he was unable to work and soon got into debt. He was made bankrupt in 1967. He said he was unable to find premises, so he gave out prescriptions for drugs anywhere. He was thought to be selling prescriptions to addicts, which led to him being nicknamed the 'Junkie's Friend'. After pleading guilty at Marylebone Magistrates Court, in February 1968, he was fined £1700.[2]

When he was prevented from prescribing any listed dangerous drug, he began to prescribe Methedrine (methamphetamine hydrochloride)[3] in injectable form in ever larger amounts, as this was not then regulated under the Dangerous Drugs Act. Methedrine was a major contributor to the drugs scene, and produced an epidemic at the time. This led finally to him being struck off the Medical Register in May 1968.[4][5]


  1. ^ "What Gets Me Hot: Baron's Court, jazz clubs, drugs and the proto-mods cult classic". Retrieved 29 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Doctor John Petro: "the junkie's friend" | Mister Trippy". 18 April 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ M.M. "Recently making a re-appearance in the UK, methamphetamine is starting to make itself known. BP investigates the drug - its effects - and the hype that surrounds its use". Black Poppy Magazine- A drug users health and lifestyle guide, issue 11. Archived from the original on 5 November 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) (from Internet Archive, 5 November 2007)
  4. ^ Heroin addiction care and control: the British System, H.B.Spear, Pub 2002, page 218
  5. ^ "How a lack of direction in treating drug-users leaves doctors in a state of limbo | TalkingDrugs is a space to share stories and talk about drugs". 26 May 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)