During the Second World War the use of stimulants was widespread throughout the armed forces to enable them to stay alert and to cope with long combat missions, By the early sixties It should be remembered that amphetamines were not illegal at that time in the United Kingdom, which fitted in perfectly with the ideal of clean living. It is hard to look back from todays perspectives at a different time when the current laws and regulations regarding drug use are in your mind and to understand that the early Mods taking amphetamines, were not doing anything illegal. Sometime around 1960 the amphetamine craze started in London’s West End, and by 1963 it had become nationwide.
Mods used the drugs mainly for stimulation as well as for alertness. They viewed it as a different goal from intoxication or delirium caused by other drugs and alcohol. In fact, during those days, mod style and drug use is completely associated with one another. According to the Mods, cannabis was a substance that would slow a person down the exact opposite to what the youngsters were looking for. In those days Mods generally used amphetamines for extending their leisure time into the early hours of the morning and as a way of bridging the wide gap between their boring and often mundane everyday work lives and the weekend of dancing riding their scooters and dressing up on their weekends and living life to the full.
There is no doubting that the impact that amphetamines had on Mod culture was as significant as their fish tail parkas, scooters, fine clothing and the drudgery of the working week.
Following the well-publicised violence between Mods and Rockers in seaside resorts during 1964, newspapers reported on Mods emerging from clubs at 5am with dilated pupils and associating this with the violence that followed. This led to the criminalisation of their use by the government in July 1964.
After a new law came into force, the street price of Purple Hearts went up from 6d to 9d a tablet. It didn’t make a lot of difference.
Purple Hearts (Drinamyl or [Dexamyl in the USA] made by Smith-Kline and French) were a combined amphetamine/barbiturate that was commonly prescribed to women for anxiety and as a dietary aid. In the early to mid-sixties they could be obtained from dealers at nightclubs They weren’t purple and they weren’t heart shaped, but a triangular blue tablet.
Durophet was another Mod favourite made by Riker and was coloured black and hence the name' Black Bombers'.
Unlike my character in my novella “August’64 Extended”, I studied Pharmacy and spent my whole working life in the Pharmaceutical Industry.