Methamphetamine is defined as a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that affects a person’s central nervous system, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Meth is one of the more commonly used illegal drugs in Southern California and across the country. 

History of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine has a long history. Meth originally was developed in the early part of the 20th century. Methamphetamine was developed from what technically is known as its parent drug, amphetamine. Amphetamine was developed in Germany in 1887 whilst methamphetamine was first produced in Japan in 1919. 

Meth was widely used during World War II. For example, Japanese Kamikaze pilots were given high doses of the drug before their suicide missions. 

In the 1950s, meth was widely used as a diet aid. It was also prescribed as a means of combating depression. During the 1950s, meth also became widely available outside of legal sources. The illegal availability of meth spread and was used by college students, truck drivers, and athletes. Abuse and addiction associated with meth spread at a relatively rapid pace during this time period. 

By the 1960s, injectable meth became far more widely available. Abuse and addiction accelerated significantly over the course of this decade. 

In 1970, the United States government made meth illegal for most purposes. When that occurred, American motorcycle gangs took over most of the production and distribution of meth. During the 1970s, meth was predominately used by people who lived in more rural communities. In addition, being a relatively inexpensive illegal drug, people who could not afford cocaine turned to meth. 

By the 1990s, small meth labs began to crop up in locations across the United States (and in other countries the world over). This practice has carried on to this day. Some of the larger makeshift labs are able to produce 50 pounds of meth over the course of a weekend. 

Differences Between Methamphetamine and Amphetamine

Both methamphetamine and amphetamine cause a person who takes the drug to experience increased talkativeness and decreased appetite. Both of these drugs cause a user to experience pleasure, a sense of wellbeing, and even euphoria.  

Methamphetamine does differ from amphetamine because in comparable doses, a more significant amount of methamphetamine gets into a user’s brain. Methamphetamine is a more potent stimulant. Methamphetamine is also longer lasting than amphetamine. 

Methamphetamine also has the potential for having more harmful effects on a user’s central nervous system. There is a notably higher potential for widespread misuse of methamphetamine than there is for amphetamine. 

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Methamphetamine

A far greater amount of attention is paid to illicitly manufactured meth. With that said, methamphetamine is also legitimately manufactured by pharmaceutical companies for medical use. Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II stimulant. As a result, methamphetamine is available via a nonrefillable prescription.

The primary uses of medically prescribed methamphetamine include:

  • Hyperactivity disorder or ADHD
  • Weight loss treatments

While methamphetamine was fairly widely used for weight loss in the 1940s, it is rarely prescribed for that purpose. Indeed, methamphetamine is prescribed for ADHD in this day and age. On those rare occasions when methamphetamine is prescribed for a bona fide medical purpose, the strength is far lower than the illicit derivation of this drug. 

Health Impact of Meth Use

Meth is ingested in a number of primary ways:

  • Smoking
  • Snorting
  • Injecting
  • Suppositories

No matter the manner in which meth is ingested, use of the drug can result in profound and pervasive health problems. These problems include serious physical, psychological, and emotional consequences. A stark reality is that serious health problems associated with this drug can begin to occur not long after a person starts using meth. 

Meth Labs, Meth Use, and Meth Contamination

The operation of meth labs and the use of meth (specifically by smoking) can result in the contamination of the premises where one or another of these activities occurs. The reality is that meth residue from the manufacturing and smoking process can end up contaminating surfaces and objects within a property.

If this meth contamination is not identified, if meth contamination is not thoroughly and safely remediated, other individuals who enter into a contaminated area run the risk of being impacted by that contamination. People who are exposed to a meth contaminated area for a more extended period of time can end up with health problems, sometimes particularly serious health issues. 

Generally speaking, when a meth lab was operated or meth was used in a property, the best course of remediation action to take is to retain the services of an experienced meth decontamination company. This type of professional can undertake testing of a property thought to be contaminated by meth in order to confirm the state of affairs at a particular location. When meth contamination is suspected, remediation must occur sooner rather than later in order to best protect the health and welfare of unsuspecting individuals.