Methamphetamine – Part 1

Meth is easy to make. It is highly addictive. It is ruining too many lives across our country… Our nation is committed to protecting our citizens and our young people from the scourge of methamphetamine.
—George W. Bush, President of the United States, March 9, 2006

Now what is a topic like that doing on a blog like this? I have recently learned the significant destructive capabilities of this drug. No alarm, please, this is not first hand or even second hand ‘knowledge’, but dear husband and I have researched this topic recently. He is going through the county Sheriff’s Training Academy and those class lectures are what has spurred my own personal interest. Amphetamines have been around forever and methamphetamine has been a popular illicit drug since the 80s. So, why am I compelled to even write about it? Methamphetamine is no ordinary drug. It is so powerful and so addictive and so destructive that it far surpasses the damage to the individual and the community than the top two drugs: marijuana & cocaine. I seriously doubt that it can top the social damages & death rates of alcohol and nicotine though.

Here is my disclaimer. This is not a professional paper, this info comes from a 100+ webpages. If you want footnotes and such, I encourage you to look into it yourself. To my knowledge, I have used information from well-known and well-documented websites. If you do some reasearch yourself, you will see that much of the info is very, very similar. Here is a good place to start: DEA’s Meth page I have tried to make the info concise, interesting (at least to me) and easy.

Basic Info that is easily found on most Meth FAQ pages:

Methamphetamine aka meth, crystal, speed, ice, crank, crystal meth and many other names that are sometimes unique to locale. Here is a rather extensive list Office of National Drug Control Policy It is not the same as cocaine, crack, PCP, MDMA aka Ecstasy.

It can be in a crystal form or rock-like chunks or a powder. It can be white, yellow, brown, pink. Meth photos

In crystal form it is smoked.
In powder form it is snorted or diluted and injected or ingested.
Tablets are imported from Southeast Asia and are usually brightly colored tablets called yaba (means “crazy medicine” in Thai).
And when you think it can’t become any more evil; it comes in flavors. Candy Meth In its tablet form it is easily digested.

Methamphetamine is an extremely potent central nervous system stimulant with very little medical use and a Schedule II drug. Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride) can be prescribed for short term treatment of obesity where other alternatives have not worked. The other legitimately manufactured Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate) can be prescribed for narcolepsy, and hold onto your hats….ADHD.

There is an interesting history behind methamphetamine (that is a long word and will now be noted as MA). Its known existence goes back about 5000 years to ancient China where ephedrine (eh-FED-rin) was extracted from the ma huang plant. It is still used there today as an herbal treatment for asthma and hay fever symptoms. Ma Huang or Ephedra is not MA.
In the late 1800s/early 1900s chemists began to synthesize ephedrine into its MA form. This is usually credited to Japanese chemists.
In 1926 ephedrine is approved by the AMA.
In the 1930s, it was first marketed as Benzedrine, an over-the-counter inhaler for nasal congestion. In 1937 physicians began prescribing amphetamines in tablet form for the treatment of a variety of diseases and conditions such as Parkinsons, narcolepsy, depression and MBD (minimal brain dynsfunction) which is now known as ADHD.
During WWII the Japanese produced large amounts of MA for their factory workers and their soldiers. Now you don’t have to wonder why so many young men would crash their planes into their targets. It is also believed that Hitler was an amphetamine addict and prescribed Benzedrine by his personal MD. According to some experts, his behaviour and appearance in the later years of the war are consistent with amphetamine addiction.
In 1945, Japan dumps huge amounts of its stockpiles onto the public. Returning US soldiers bring it to America and production starts in Southern California by outlaw motorcycle gangs.
1950s – US soldiers in Korea are given amphetamines. Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) and Methedrine (methamphetamine) are easily obtained by prescription and easily diverted to the black market.
1960s – MA form known as “speed” produced by California-based motorcycle gangs. MA remains endemic to CA, Nevada, & Mexico at this point. Small and large labs begin to grow.
1967 – MA prescriptions peak in the US
1970s – federal & state laws/acts increase as awaresness of the drug culture increases
1989 – MA is the 3rd most popular drug after marijuana & cocaine and a nationwide problem with small labs cropping up everywhere.

There is some recent good news. Various statistics I read indicate that MA use has declined since 2004. Arrests are generally up. I found it interesting that nearly 98% of meth arrests also include some form of trafficking.

End of Part 1

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2 Responses to Methamphetamine – Part 1

  1. Good googlie mooglie!

  2. Chrystal says:

    There has been a big problem with makeshift meth labs here in town lately. We have a new drug force that has been cracking down on them pretty hard but it seems as soon as one goes down, two more pop up. All the drugs to make meth can be bought over the counter and the recipes are all over the internet. It’s so easy to get all the information and that’s pretty sad.

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