Also known as one of the most badass presidents of all time Kennedy was also probably the highest. Most of the drugs were legitimate legal pharmaceuticals as Kennedy had a number of ailments including back problems from wounds suffered in World War II and Addison’s disease, a disease where the body doesn’t make enough hormones. This caused him to take a number of drugs including steroids which cause a number of fun side effects including the puffy face (scientific name: moon facies), a hump on your back (scientific name: buffalo hump) and lethargic activity.
To counter the sleepy side effect JFK was also taking amphetamines (Speed) from Doctor “Dr. Feelgood” Jacobson. He was a big proponent of speed and all his patients from head colds to cancer patients received Feelgood injections as treatment.  Years after Kennedy was killed Dr. Jacobson was arrested and charged with 48 counts of unprofessional conduct.

In 1961 Kennedy attended the Vienna Summit where he was to have a one on one meeting with the Soviet leader, Khrushchev. Just before the Vienna Summit with Khrushchev, Kennedy was feeling a little down so Dr. Feelgood gave Kennedy one of his special shots.  But the shot either wasn’t enough or didn’t have the desired effect as in the one-on-one private meeting Kennedy later recalled that the meeting was “the roughest thing in my life,” describing Khrushchev as “rude” and “savage.”  The day after the meeting he went to London and depressed he sought out Jacobson to get another upper.

It was this meeting where Kennedy was feeling the effects of a whole cocktail of narcotics that Khrushchev decided that the young new President could be pushed around and he set in motion the events that would lead the world to the brink of Armageddon via the Cuban Missile crisis.


Goering was head of the German Air Force and at one time Hitler’s second in command. He had a serious groin injury during the 1923 Munich Putsch.  To take the edge off of the family jewels’ pain Goering dabbled and became addicted to morphine, then a common pain medication. After the Putsch, he spent a lot of time in and out of Swedish hospitals trying to kick the habit and after a couple of years he finally did.
The rotund Goering with his buddy Hitler

However, in the 1930s he fell off the wagon after taking some mild painkillers for a toothache and took up with his old friends from the opiate family. This time around he fell for para-codeine, a German morphine substitute. Not a particular strong opiate but Goering by the end of the war was taking 40-100 pills a day. He became so high that he would fall asleep during key Luftwaffe meetings. In the closing days of the war he showed up at the Allied lines with a huge entourage, his fingers and toenails painted red, weighing over 300lbs and a suitcase with over 20,000 para-codeine pills, Germany’s entire supply. And since the drug was unknown outside the Third Reich he had in his possession the entire world supply.


Remember that guy who took the sledgehammer to the Saddam’s statue in a futile effort to bring it down? Well, his name is Kadhem Sharif a one-time champion weight lifter and collector of motorcycles. During Saddam’s regime, he was called upon by Saddam’s son and heir apparent Uday to develop a world-class gym and fitness center for Uday and his entourage.

Uday (left) and his brother after a friendly meeting with American Forces

Sharif remembers that El-captain wanted him to start Uday on a steroid regime so that he could bulk up. However, Uday much like his father was suffering from an extreme case of megalomania. He reasoned that since a normal man took the recommended dosage of steroids according to his body mass that because he was a demi-god that only 5 times the recommended dose would work. “Steroids affected him,” says Sharif. He told the guardian

He became an addict. The doctors said he should not mix alcohol and steroids, but he did and it drove him mad. He was trying to be a hero by taking more and more tablets. But he failed.

Anthony Eden

Elected as Prime Minister of Jolly old England in 1955, Eden suffered horrible pain due to a botched gall bladder operation.   To take the edge off the post-op failure Eden developed a serious morphine and Benzedrine (Bennys or amphetamines) addiction.  He was able to sporadically kick the morphine habit, but taking Bennys became part of his daily routine.

Eden the real Mad Hatter?
Under a Benzedrine-fuelled bender, Eden led his country to war during the 1956 Suez Crisis.   In his biography, Eden admitted he was addicted to morphine and “was practically living on Benzedrine” while directing the war effort.   Staff on his war council were puzzled by his seemingly irrational decisions and delusional mood swings.   Eden’s failure during the Suez Crisis was the last showing of British Imperial power and is seen as the beginning of the end for the British Empire.


You just knew de Führer was on the list! How else can you explain the mustache? One of Hitler doctors was Theodor Morell who in typical German efficiently recorded every drug he gave de Fuhrer. Among the many drugs were: cocaine eye drops, nux vomica, atropine, barbitone, belladonna, dihydroxy codeine, amphetamines, testosterone, vitamins and penicillin stolen from Allied supplies.  Allied doctors would later conclude that far from helping Hitler Dr. Morell’s medication was slowly poisoning him and actually responsible for many of his ailments.

James Wilkinson

James Wilkinson was an interesting character. He entered the American military many times but always was found incompetent and later fired. Even so, he maintained a clean record. It is said that Wilkinson never won a battle but never lost a court-martial. During the War of 1812: the invasion of Canada Wilkinson was tasked with taking an invasion force into Canada. For years he had been taking laudanum, a mixture of opium and brandy. When the good general came down with a bad case of dysentery he heavily self-medicated himself until he could no longer function. Due to his inability to get out of bed and giving bad and contradictory commands to his troops the 8000 men American force was defeated by 900 Canadian and British troops during the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. Wilkinson was again relieved of duty but was able to win his Court Marshall. In 1821 he moved to Mexico where he died of a drug overdose. After his death, he was discovered to have been a paid spy of the Spanish Crown.

White House
Allied troops burning down the White House during the War of 1812

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