Methamphetamine, also known as meth, speed, tina, crank, or go fast, has
become an epidemic. A deadly drug which can enslave and destroy it’s
users in the blink of a dilated eye. The epidemic of meth has sprung up
virtually overnight and is a serious threat to not only the lives of
it’s users, but also to those around them and our society as well.
Serious steps are being taken to stem the rising tide of destruction
sweeping across America, but the war against this devastating drug is
far from over.

Amphetamine was created in Germany in 1887. As there were no apparent
uses for the drug, it stayed relatively obscure until the 1920’s, when
it was used in studies for everything from depression to decongestion.
During the 1930’s it was made available as an “over the counter”
treatment for sinus related problems. More than likely the popularity of
Benzedrine during this time was due to the fact that most were using it
to get “high” as Prohibition was still in full effect.

Methamphetamine, a more powerful, and easier to make version was
discovered in Japan in 1919. During World War II, and Vietnam,
amphetamines were widely used to keep the fighting men going.
Intravenous drug use reached epidemic proportions in Japan after WWII,
when supplies stockpiled by the military became available to the general

In the US, during the 1950’s, amphetamines were once again made
available to the public, this time in tablet form under the names,
dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methamphetamine (Methedrine). Used by
everyone from truck drivers to housewives, for everything from
depression to fatigue, once again Pandora’s box had been opened.

During the 60’s a newer, injectable form of the drug was created and the
tide of abuse continued to rise, until the 1970 Controlled Substances
Act, which called for the cessation of virtually all injectable
amphetamine production , causing a decline in it’s use.

In recent years meth has once again become an epidemic. Communities
across the United States are experiencing the effects of meth abuse and
trafficking. Almost all methamphetamine produced in the US is a product
of the secret “meth lab”. These clandestine labs are also a serious
concern to law enforcement and health officials, as they are often
unstable and very dangerous because of the chemicals and procedures used
to manufacture meth.

Methamphetamine’s destructive results can be seen almost immediately in
the average user. Rotting teeth, paranoid and violent behavior are just
a few of the more common symptoms of meth abuse. Increased sexuality
leading to promiscous and dangerous sexual practices and the spread of
STD’s, has been shown to be a direct result of meth use in a fair
majority of users, especially in the gay community. Meth also visibly
causes the user to “age”, with heavy use. An attractive 20 year old meth
user can become a sickly 40 something looking shell of a person in a
shockingly short period of time with heavy use. Even with all of these
dangers and risks being well known, the pull of “speed” is sitll too
much for some to heed the warning. Meth’s addictiveness and debilitating
effects have been called worse than the crack and heroin’s, and the
current epidemic is as prevalant and devastating as the crack scourge of
the 1980’s.

The plague of “Meth” is a war which must be won before more damage can
be done. The eradication and total criminalization of methamphetamine
should be the number one priority of all law enforcement, health and
government officials. On a community level,education, and awareness are
needed to prevent the further spread of abuse, and stem the current

Programs such as drug court, and initiatives like proposition 36 have
been helpful in rehabilitating those who are convicted of drug related
crimes. Sending addicts and users to rehab instead of jail or prison has
had a positive effect on a great deal of those sentenced under these new
programs. One can only hope that with programs like these, and newer,
specialized treatment and rehabilitation procedures, combined with
increased law enforcement, the epidemic of “meth” will soon be gone.