We’ve all felt worse after drinking too much wine at work, or eating too many pizza slices on our sofas. 

Maybe none of us felt as bad as Aimo Koivunen. A Finnish soldier accidentally took a whole squad worth of Nazi methamphetamines while fleeing Soviet soldiers in the Second World War.

Aimo believed the pills would provide enough energy for him to flee the Red Army. However, he lost his unit and got outrun by his own units. He ended up ski touring the Arctic Circle two weeks later, high from his thoughts.

He traveled 250 miles, including through Soviet camps, before stepping on a mine which caused him to lose his right foot.  

Aimo Koivunen

Aimo Koivunen

Aimo Koivunen, left and right, was a Finnish soldier in the Second World War who accidentally took too many Nazi methamphetamines while fighting against the Soviets

This incredible tale took place March 1944, when Finland was fighting an almost ten-year-old conflict with Russia over the eastern regions of its country. It joined an alliance with Hitler’s Germany. 

Aimo (then 27 years) was in the second day of a threeday mission behind Soviet line with a team of Finns. The group had been almost nonstop since they came across a Soviet patrol on March 18 at around 10 am.

Amio’s group was badly injured in an altercation and they were forced to abandon their unit. They skied through the snow and avoided being captured.

Aimo started to fall behind, even though they were making good ground at the beginning. As his team disappeared on the trail ahead, and Soviets coming closer, Aimo knew he needed something to change the balance.

Then he pulled out from his breast pocket Nazi Pervitin pills – methamphetamine, which Hitler had given Hitler’s troops in order to help them win the battle.

Aimo, an obedient boy, was given the responsibility of carrying the whole squad’s supply.

Aimo took the whole lot and in a flash of madness found himself with more energy than his Soviet pursuers.

He not only escaped the Soviets but also quickly rebuilt his squad. Aimo began to hallucinate and was barely coherent when they finally caught him up.

Aimo had been entrusted with his entire squad's supply of Pervitin, a Nazi methamphetamine pill, which he accidentally took while trying to swallow one pill for energy

Aimo, the Nazi methamphetamine-pill smuggler, was given Pervitin to his entire squad. He accidentally swallowed one of these pills while trying to eat another for energy.

Aimo was taken away by the squad because of his concern for safety. Soon after, he experienced the first of a string of long blackouts. He arrived alone and unarmed.

He had traveled almost 40 miles to his last known location and was now in freezing temperatures, with no way to return to camp. Meanwhile, a whole squad of Nazi meth was coursing through his body.

Aimo later wrote in his memoir that the following days were blurred. He was constantly on the go and experienced vivid hallucinations. 

A few moments later, he remembered talking to friends back at home. He also skied towards what he thought would be a cabin lit on the horizon, which was actually the North Star. He also battled a wolverine, which turned up to be a tree root.

He ate snow, which he had melted in the pot to make water and pine needles which he cooked into a type of broth. 

Aimo was skiing toward a troop of Soviet soldiers in an attempt to rescue his Finnish friends.  

Aimo was unable to change his direction in time to avoid them and ended up skiiing straight through their camp. This caused confusion because they mistakenly thought he was one of their own.

“What an unfortunate situation!” Aimo wrote. Aimo wrote: 

“They must be the same people who chased us down the road.”

Aimo was eventually recognised by the Soviets, who gave chase again. He called it the’scariest Race of My Life’. They took him through a frozen swamp with pine forest covered in snow and he called it the “scariest” race.

Aimo ended up getting lost for two weeks in the Arctic Circle in temperatures down to -30C, before being found badly wounded but alive by his fellow Finns (pictured, ski soldiers)

Aimo got lost for two weeks at the Arctic Circle, temperatures as low as -30C. He was then found by fellow Finns, who were able to save him.

Aimo was able to flee the Soviets after a long day of siiking before finding an abandoned cabin. After escaping the Soviets, Aimo went into the cabin and lit a fire to keep warm.

Aimo, however, became disoriented and lit the fire in the center of the wood floor. As the fires raged around the cabin, Aimo fell into a sleepy stupor. Each time the flames touched him, the flames would start to engulf his body.  

He was able to climb out of the burning cabin without it collapsing on top of him. After that, he fell upon a second shelter: an abandoned Nazi military camp. 

Aimo did not know that the soldiers who left had booby-trapped Aimo. 

First, he walked on a mine that exploded his right foot. Then he stumbled upon a cabin where a second blast erupted and threw him into the nearby ditch.

Aimo surrendered to his fate and decided to stay in the ditch. He estimated that it would take him a week to survive in freezing temperatures of -30C. There were only small fires for warmth, but he had one raw bird to eat.

The Finns finally found him. However, they were unable to take him back in the badly injured state he was in. So, they promised to rescue him again.

Aimo was surprised to find that the rescue team came back and took him to a field hospital nearby. There, he received treatment.

Here he discovered he’d been absent for two weeks. It later turned out he had skied about 250 miles that time. 

He was pulsing at 200 beats per minutes when he got to the hospital. His resting heart rate is around 80. He was just 6 and 1/2 stone.

Aimo was able to survive the horrors of war, and he had his family. Aimo died in 1989.

His son Mika later recalled how his father didn’t like to discuss his time in the war, but in 1978 wrote down the experience of his meth trip for a competition a magazine was holding. 

It was second.