Methamphetamine is a psychostimulant which increases alertness, concentration, energy, and in high doses, can induce euphoria, enhance self-esteem, and increase libido. Methamphetamine was first synthesized from ephedrine in Japan around 1890s. The German military dispensed it under the trademark name Pervitin. It was widely distributed across rank and division, from elite forces to tank crews and aircraft personnel, with many millions of tablets being distributed throughout the war.

Methamphetamine abuse leads to devastating medical, psychological, and social consequences. Adverse health effects include memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior, heart damage, malnutrition, and severe dental problems. Methamphetamine abuse also contributes to increased transmission of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, and can infuse whole communities with new waves of crime, unemployment, child neglect or abuse, and other social ills.

Street methamphetamine is referred to by many names, such as “speed,” “meth,” and “chalk.” Methamphetamine hydrochloride, clear chunky crystals resembling ice, which can be inhaled by smoking, is referred to as “ice,” “crystal,” “glass,” and “tina”.

Meth works on the brain’s pleasure centers, creating an almost immediate sensation of well-being. When someone uses it, the heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rates increase. The sense of instant gratification means that other sources of reward in one’s life pale by comparison. Unfortunately, the first “high” that someone experiences is the most intense, and it can’t be duplicated by continuing to use the drug.

As far as figures are concerned they are also alarming

  • 10.4 million Americans aged 12 or older used methamphetamine at least once in their lifetimes. (ONDCP)
  • 15,000 deaths annually associated with stimulants in the US. (APA)
  • In 2004, the number of methamphetamine treatment admissions to Emergency Departments increased to greater than 150,000, representing 8 percent of all drug-related admissions. (NIDA)
  • It is estimated that there are 26 million worldwide users of this drug.

It is also rated by many organizations as the world’s most dangerous drug.

Watch the documentary by NATGEO: World’s Most Dangerous Drug