History of Meth


  • 1919 – methamphetamine (meth) was developed by Japanese chemist A. Ogata.
  • 1930’s Meth comes to the U.S.
  • World War II: Soldiers and factory workers used meth to stay alert and energized.
  • After World War II: Meth became widely available in Japan and addiction sky rocketed.
  • 1950s and 1960s – use of amphetamine sulfate (benzedrine) and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) pills became widespread. They were commonly prescribed by doctors for weight loss, but their popularity quickly made them a drug that was sold on the street. Meth was sold on the street mostly as a powder than could be snorted or made in to an injectable solution.
  • 1960s – some users began shooting the drug in to their veins to get a higher “high”. Those who did it frequently were called “speed freaks”. They would inject themself with the drug for days until they couldn’t function because the exhaustion or psychosis caused by the drug. Speed freaks were agressive, had volatile tempers, physically depleted, and experienced great weight loss. Their condition led to the saying “speed kills”.
  • After the 1960s – amphetimine abuse began to taper off, in part because the U.S. government implemented tighter controls on production of amphetamine in 1970. The Drug Enforcement Administration and medical licensing boards also cracked down on”script doctors”, who gave out amphetamine prescriptions freely.

  • In the 1980s, ice, a extremely addictive and potent form of meth, came into use.
  • In the United States, there have been three distinct meth epidemics: one in the 1950s, a second in the late 1960s, and the third and current one that began in the mid-1990s.

Information obtained from the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse website


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