Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887 and commercially sold as a nasal spray in 1932 for the treatment of asthma.
When its stimulant property was recognized, it led to additional medical use and applications.
Soon, new and more potent forms of this drug was developed and made publicly available.
Some of them were dextroamphetamine sulfate (Dexedrine) and Methamphetamine (Methedrine)
During World War II, Methamphetamine was used by soldiers to fight fatigue and improve their performance at the battlefronts.
Pilots took it to stay awake for long periods of time.
After the end of the war, supplies of this drug stored for military use in Japan was made available to the public, thereby creating an epidemic of its abuse.
During 1950s, in US, truckers took legally manufactured methamphetamine to stay awake in their long trips.
Athletes used them to boost their energy and increase their sporting performance.
Students loved it because it helped them to stay awake studying for long hours without being tired.
During those times, the use of this drug was considered safe in order to enhance performance and combat fatigue and there was no concern for the development of addiction by users.
However, during 1960s, injectable methamphetamine became easily available causing the spread of intravenous abuse of this drug among a subculture called "speed freaks."
It became very clear quickly that the dangers of the abuse of this drug outweigh any of its therapeutic benefits.
Most of the amphetamine products were removed from the public accessibility and the remaining ones were prescribed less often by doctors.
When the supply of amphetamine and methamphetamine decreased, the demand increased causing the rise in their illicit production.
In 1965, an amendment was made to the Federal food and drug laws in an attempt curtail the trafficking of methamphetamine.
1970 Controlled Substances Act severely restricted the legal manufacture and sales of this drug.
The production and distribution of this drug declined during 1970s even though the 1970 Controlled Substances Act did not entirely eliminate its use.
Some of the reasons for this are because the materials and equipment for their manufacture are cheap. The active ingredients needed to prepare the drug are easy to get. Besides underground manufacturers developed alternative methods of manufacture that were not illegal. Methamphetamine is cheaper and its effects last longer.
The underground manufacture of this drug was based in the West and Southwest of US because the two drugs, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine used in it were widely available in Mexico and easily smuggled into US.
As the demand for this drug increased rapidly, its underground production and distribution also increased.
In the West and Southwest, most of the manufacturers and distributors had been members of motorcycle gangs.
The manufacturing process of this drug produces very strong chemical smell making the home laboratories easy to detect.
For this reason, most of the illegal makeshift manufacturing laboratories were located in rural desert areas near southern California urban and suburban areas.
During the late 1980s, it was revealed that 1 in 10 residents of California had used methamphetamine within 12 months before the survey.
Even though many of the laboratories were seized by law enforcement agents, its production and distribution continued.
In 1988, the 1970 legislation was amended into Chemical Trafficking and Diversion Act that required wholesalers to record imports and exports of the precursors of this drug, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phenylacetic acid, benzyl cyanide, and benzyl chloride.
By 1996, the Mexican drug families captured a large share of the US wholesale Market for this drug.
It spread to other regions and areas of US.
It was being smuggled from Taiwan and South Korea into Hawaii and distributed to US mainland.
Some of the street names of methamphetamine are Crank, Crypto, Crystal, Meth, Quill, Speed, tweak, White Cross, Yellow bam, and for smokable forms of it, Cristy, Hanyak, Ice, L.A. glass and Quartz.
It can be swallowed in a pill or tablet form, snorted (through the nose) in its powdered form or injected intravenously in its liquid form.
Injecting it produces the quickest and most intense effect and is called "the rush."
Methamphetamine can also be transformed into a very pure solid form that is crystalline and is called "ice" or "glass" that when smoked gives the user a more powerful , immediate and intense "rush" and the euphoria experienced lasts longer than crack cocaine.