The history of methamphetamine

The history of methamphetamine

Jan 18, 1887: Amphetamine was originally synthesized at Universität Berlin by Romanian chemist Lazar Edeleanu (1861-1941) and originally called phenylisopropylamine. It was then forgotten for the next 4 decades.

1919: Methamphetamine is synthesized by Japanese scientist A. Ogata.

1930: Amphetamine was found to raise blood pressure.

1932: Amphetamine is marketed as ‘benzedrine’ by Smith, Kline & French, in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat congestion.

1935: Amphetamine’s stimulant effect is recognized and doctors successfully utilize it to treat narcolepsy.

1937: Amphetamine is authorized by the American Medical Association for sale in tablet form. It is sold by prescription for the treatment of narcolepsy and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

World War II: Both Amphetamine and Methamphetamine are largely administered to soldiers to help improve performance. This led to addiction issues in Japan after the war.

1940: Methamphetamine is marketed under the brand name “Methedrine” by Burroughs Wellcome.

1942: Dextro-amphetamine and methamphetamine are readily available.

1950 – 1953: U.S. administers amphetamine to soldiers in Korea.

1954: Height of the Japanese amphetamine epidemic. There are approximated to be more than 2 million amphetamine users in a population of 88.5 million.

1959:  Original report of IV injection of contents from Benzedrine inhalers.

1963: Illegal speed manufacture starts when the Attorney General of California asks that injectable ampoules be removed from the market.

1960’s:  Methamphetamine consumption increases in the United States.

1970: Amphetamine is regulated under schedule II in the U.S. with the passage of the ‘U.S. Drug Abuse Regulation and Control Act of 1970’. This makes it illicit to possess without a prescription.

Oct 27, 1970:  The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act is approved. Part II of this is the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) which defines a scheduling system for drugs. It places the majority of the known hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, peyote, cannabis, & MDA) in Schedule I. It classifies coca, cocaine and injectable methamphetamine in Schedule II. Other amphetamines and stimulants, such as non-injectable methamphetamine are under Schedule III.

Jul 7, 1971: Amphetamine and Methamphetamine (non-injectable) are now classified under Schedule II.

Late 1980’s: Smoked Methamphetamine gains in popularity.

1996:  U.S. Congress passes the Methamphetamine Control Act establishing new regulations over key ingredients and reinforcing criminal penalties for possession, distribution and production.

Methamphetamine was originally synthesized from ephedrine in Japan in 1893 by a chemist by the name of A. Ogata. During 1919, crystallized methamphetamine was synthesized by Akira Ogata via reduction of ephedrine using red phosphorus and iodine. The related compound amphetamine was originally synthesized in Germany in 1887 by Laz?r Edeleanu.

One of the earliest uses of the drug amphetamine occurred when Pervitin was widely distributed across rank and division, from elite forces to tank crews and aircraft personnel in the army. Chocolates dosed with methamphetamine were called Fliegerschokolade (“flyer’s chocolate”) when given to pilots, or Panzerschokolade (“tanker’s chocolate”) when administered to tank crews. From 1942 until his death in 1945, Adolf Hitler was administered daily intravenous injections of methamphetamine by his personal doctor, Theodor Morell, as a treatment for depression and fatigue. It is possible that the Parkinson’s-like symptoms which developed in 1940 were related to his abuse of methamphetamine.

Following World War II, a wide supply of amphetamine, formerly stockpiled by the Japanese military, became available in Japan under the street name shabu (also Philopon (pronounced ????, or Hiropon), its trade name there.) The Japanese Ministry of Health banned the drug in 1951; and its prohibition is now believed to have added to the growing yakuza-activities related to illicit drug manufacture. Currently,

methamphetamine is still associated with the Japanese underworld, but its use is discouraged by strong social taboos.
In the 1950s, there was an increase in the legal prescription of methamphetamine to the American public. According to the 1951 edition of Pharmacology and Therapeutics by Arthur Grollman, methamphetamine was prescribed for “narcolepsy, post-encephalitic Parkinsonism, alcoholism … in some depressive states… and in the treatment of obesity.”
During the 1960s, significant use began of clandestinely produced methamphetamine. Methamphetamine was now created in users’ own homes for personal use. The recreational use of methamphetamine peaked during the 1980s. The December 2, 1989 edition of The Economist described San Diego, California as the “methamphetamine capital of North America.”
In the year 2000, The Economist again described San Diego, California as the methamphetamine capital of North America, and South Gate, California as the second capital city.

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