Drug Facts

Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth, Ice and Glass are all slang terms for the drug methamphetamine. These names are descriptive of the crystalline structure of this drug that give it the appearance of glass shavings or shaved ice. Methamphetamines were developed to be a medicinal pharmaceutical, but most of the appeal of methamphetamines is now due to its ability to chemically enhance man's performance pushing him beyond his normal operating basis.

Methamphetamines were first discovered when Akira Ogata reduced ephedrine with red phosphorus and iodine in Japan in 1919, but it wasn't commercially produced in America until 1943 when Abbot Laboratories got approval form the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture this drug for the treatment of many disorders including hay fever, narcolepsy, and even for the treatment of chronic alcoholism.

Claims were made that meth could help most of these original maladies, but outcome studies have proven that this drug is only a temporary help with long-term problems that actually do more harm than good. The addictive potential of this drug is so high that even the authorized uses for methamphetamines are better treated by other means. With ongoing treatment, the drug produces so many negative side-effects that it is irresponsible to think of this drug as an ultimate or long-term remedy.

With very limited legitimate medical need for this drug, most of its present use is limited to drug abuse to get the euphoric side effect as well as performance enhancement. As with most drugs that stimulate neurotransmitters that produce a feeling of excitement and euphoria, the side effects are quite severe and can even be deadly.

Interestingly, before the ramifications of this drug were clear, the German military forces dispensed methamphetamines to their troops in World War II so that they could better confront the violent crimes of war and require much less sleep. Historical evidence shows that this practice wasn't limited to the Axis troops, but this drug was also given to Allied troops to garner the same benefit. Literally, millions of tablets of methamphetamines were distributed to both the Axis and Allied forces during World War II. There is evidence that Theodor Morell, Adolf Hitler's person physician, administered intravenous injections of methamphetamines to the extent that Hitler showed signs of Parkinson's disease, which is one of the side effects from abusing methamphetamines. Certainly his histrionics are typical of someone on large doses of meth.

In these early years this drug's side effects weren't thoroughly studied and in the 1950s it was common for family physicians to prescribe methamphetamines as a diet aid. This liberal dispensing of methamphetamines led to many problems, including addiction and addiction-related problems. The deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley ended the honeymoon of "better living through chemistry" and raised the public's awareness on how dangerous this medication and others can be. In an attempt to limit the distribution and abuse of this drug, the government has classified Desoxyn, the commercial name for methamphetamines, as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty has placed methamphetamine as a Schedule II Controlled Substance as well.

Crystal meth Lab

As restriction on the production of meth were heightened the demand responded by a raise of clandestine home labs that were able to produce and profit from its addictive qualities, a practice that has continued and flourished to this day.

Laws were first passed in 1983 in the United States to prohibit the possession of the chemical precursors and equipment related to the manufacturing of methamphetamines. In spite of these laws, the illicit manufacture or this drug flourished in the 1980s and 90s, especially in the rural Midwest and South. Even today, county government officials throughout the United States report that meth is their counties' most serious drug problem. In reaction to this epidemic, Montana, South Dakota, Idaho, Colorado and Arizona have launched extensive campaigns, both public and private, to curb the spread of methamphetamine labs and the distribution of this drug.

There are many types of laboratory recipes on the Internet that can teach anyone how to manufacture methamphetamines from ephedrine, a drug that can be purchased from over-the-counter medicines such as Sudafed, Contac and other medicines marketed to treat common cold symptoms. In these compounds, ephedrine is in the form of pseudoephedrine, which makes little difference in the manufacturing process. Major pharmaceutical chains such as Walgreens and CVS have instituted policies that limit sales to small quantities and require identification to purchase these medications. Many states have laws that track the sale of these over-the-counter medications and when it is found that any one person is buying more than is common for personal use, the sale of these compounds will be restricted and they may be investigated by local law enforcement officials.

If there were to be a ban on the manufacture of ephedrine, these illicit labs could no longer make meth, so drug prevention and treatment professionals are supporting the passage of laws that would ban these over-the-counter products. Medical professionals have also petitioned for ending the manufacturing of ephedrine, stating that they have other medications to treat the symptoms of the common cold that are far better then these commercial products.

In 1984, the Federal Law that stopped the manufacture of Quaaludes, the commercial name for methaqualone, is a precedent for how government has been able to outlaw the production and sale of drugs that have very limited clinical use but have wide illicit drug diversion and addiction problems. This drug has been called the ultimate feel-good drug and was being black-marketed by the millions before the government stepped in and ended its production. The same could be done with ephedrine if the public's outcry diminishes the corporate lobby interest.

If you know anyone suffering from crystal meth or any other drug addiction, please contact a Narconon drug rehabilitation counselor. We can help you get started toward a drug-free life.

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