Meth is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is highly addictive. The term "meth" is derived from the complete name of the drug, methamphetamine. It is chemically related to a class of drugs known as amphetamines, including drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, but is much more powerful. These drugs all belong to a broader grouping of drugs known as stimulants. A stimulant is any drug that increases the activity of the body's systems. Other examples of stimulants include cocaine, crack, and caffeine. These drugs all produce similar effects of increased heart rate, alertness, respirations, and many other physical and mental functions.
The History of Meth
It is impossible to address the history of meth without first delving into the world of amphetamines. Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887 in Germany by a Roman chemist. Methamphetamine was next discovered in 1893, but neither substance was used medically until the mid-1900s. The first pharmacological preparation of amphetamine was an inhaler used to treat congestion, known as Benzedrine. By 1943, methamphetamine and amphetamine were used to treat various conditions, including depression, obesity, alcoholism, and narcolepsy. Eventually, amphetamines would be used to treat various perceived mental issues, including some that would later be named conditions like "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder", or ADHD.
During WWII, both drugs were misused by Allied and Axis forces for their stimulant properties. They created soldiers that didn't need much sleep or food and had plenty of energy to fight, a perceived advantage initially. But as addiction and dependence became known risk factors, governmental restrictions ensued, culminating in the drug being listed as Schedule II on the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1971.
But unfortunately, as is the case with prohibition throughout history, demand for the drug led to illegal manufac