Because meth is a stimulator packed with intensity- it was introduced as a weight loss supplement in the 1950's and 60's. Doctors had no problem writing prescriptions for the drug, as it was being used only to lose weight. However, as time went on, individuals began to see meth for what it really was, a powerful stimulant which they could a high from. Since it was a medicine which caused those who took it to "speed", meth was sold in the underground markets in the 70's. Along with quick weight loss, meth was able to improve the performance of athletes, and even treat mild cases of depression. While these characteristics may not seem good enough to actually take a risk on this medication, meth was a was a great way to make money back then. However, with the good also came the bad, and so erratic, and sometimes violent behavior were both characteristic of the medicine- leaving doctors with little choice but to abandon the medication and prescriptions.
Meth, was originally made with a chemical called P2P, short for Phenyl 2 Propane. It was pretty simple to get, and was one of the main ingredients used to make the meth until 1980. At this time, P2P began it's regulatory status. The federal government put regulations on P2P because of its potency, and potential for becoming addictive; they however had no clue of what was to come. Instead of continuing the use of P2P to make their meth, a new drug was used by manufacturers; Ephedrine was found to be more potent than Phenyl 2 Propane, and worked just as well to make the drug. Meth labs began to sprout everywhere, especially on the West Coast. Meth was no longer made for motorcycle gangs, it had went viral and those who loved to "speed" could not have been happier. Mexicans were able to supply Ephedrine in large amounts, allowing production in the meth labs to go on nonstop. These meth labs were dangerous- but made good money... so much that the DEA, which is the Drug Enforcement Agency in the U.S, began to scratch their heads to figure out what their next phase of putting this drug into extinction would be. Only a few years after passing regulations on P2P, the DEA was at a standstill on the issue, until they decided in 1988 to implement federal regulations which put restrictions on the import and sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Both of these could potentially be used to make meth, however ephedrine was twice as potent as the Phenyl 2 Propane. However, there was a catch. These regulations put restrictions on the "raw" materials and the medicines which they were used to make. Ephedrine and Pseudoephridine were considered "raw" materials, as they were chemicals used in the making of meth. Because of these stiff regulations, pharmaceutical companies felt they were being shafted, and would lose money as a result of this stiff regulation on chemicals and products. As a result, the Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, decided to lift the restriction on the products which were made with the chemicals, but not the chemicals- or "raw" materials themselves. The outcome? Medicines which were made with ingredients such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine could be sold over the counter; this left only one choice for manufacturers- go and buy the medications which had the chemicals they needed as ingredients. They were elated at the change in regulations, at least they could purchase their "raw" materials, even if it was available as an ingredient of some other medicine, they simply added an extra cooking process which included taking the ephedrine and pseudoephedrine out of the over the counter medicine- they were thrilled, at least for a while.
Meth started making its way east to the Midwestern states in the late 1990's. Treatment centers who were use to cocaine and heroin addicts started seeing individuals hooked on meth; many had no program put into place for this drug which was used primarily on the west coast. Midwesterners jumped on board for the meth ride mainly because of the sudden availability of the drug, its potency, and the effect it had on those who used it. Some say the drug can be compared to cocaine, yet with stronger effects. Meth cooks were now able to effectively remove the "raw" materials from the medicine which was purchased over the counter, making their drugs more potent than ever. During this time period, Mexican drug lords decided to smuggle meth made from "Super Labs" in Mexico, to the U.S.; however, there was one glitch which would decrease the chances of Mexican smuggling. Fortunately for the U.S, foreign ephedrine suppliers said they would discontinue their exports which supplied cartels, in an effort to assist with the growing Meth problem which was taking place. This cut down the potency of the drug, because it was not as pure as before. So much was happening during this time; the Midwest was dubbed the ideal place to manufacture the product, because of its discreet rural areas which could easily camouflage meth labs. This led to the start of MAPP-SD which was a program put into place to put an end to the growing trend of meth use in the midwest, specifically South Dakota. This was the latest development during the 90's, but there was more to come, for those who were dedicated to avoiding a meth epidemic. They had no idea what the next decade had in store. Meth may have ended the 90's with a bit of a "cat's meow", however the 2000's would see meth "roar", causing stiffer regulations, new treatment facilities, and more to combat the growing meth addict population.The 2000's It was 2001 when Canada decided to join forces with Mexico, supplying ephredrine to traffickers. Whether they were oblivious to what they were doing, or not- by 2003 Canada's government began to use stricter licensing rules, which helped curtail Canada's role in Ephedrine's import to the U.S. Still that same year, a study had been conducted which would provide a grim outlook on meth addiction in the U.S. A survey which was taken in the United States regarding drug use and health provided information regarding individuals who used meth during their lifetime. Surprisingly, 12 million had used the drug at least one time. When 2004 came in, the cartels in Mexico once again increased the amount of meth which was cooked in Super Labs which meant more would be smuggled into the U.S; this was only making the supply more pure and potent to sell on the streets. This led to Oklahoma's decision to pass regulations on pseudoephedrine. All sales were regulated, which meant they had to be put into a log, which was signed by the consumer. There was a limit to the number of medicines which could be purchased over the counter. Having to turn in your Identification each time a purchase was made, meant being scrutinized each time you make a purchase regarding any medication which was made with ephedrine or psuedoephedrine. Though it was a long time coming, 2005 brought a change in the way Ephedrine, Pseudophedrine, and medicines like it could be sold. The Patriot Revision Act included the Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005, which put further restrictions on the sale of the drug. However, even with the Methamphetamine Act of 2005, there is much work to be done to combat addiction to this drug.
The regulations which were put into place in 2005 have put a slight dent in the use of Methamphetamines, however the drug continues to be a stark reminder of what can be produced with a few household products and a pack of cold medication. Meth, or crystal meth, is not worth trying- nor is it worth the stigma which comes along with having to buy cold meds at the pharmacy. There is a new generation of individuals who are being introduced Meth for the first time, and many are becoming addicted. The drug is more potent than ever, using only ingredients which are easily accessible- and cheap to buy. For those looking for a cheap high which mimics cocaine, meth will likely be their choice.