If someone mentioned the name “Walter White,” what would you immediately think of? Your mind would probably drift to a run-down mobile home and guys (wearing hazmat suits) creating one of the most dangerous illegal drugs on the planet. Also known as “ice” or “glass,” the potent concoction called crystal meth had earned a particularly nasty reputation for inflicting sores, open wounds, and tooth decay on countless victims in our country. Chances are, when you make a list of the most dangerously addictive drugs, crystal meth will appear somewhere in the top ten. Still, have you ever wondered where the madness started? Who created crystal meth and why did they do this? Let’s trace the history of this street drug and get some answers.

Japanese Chemistry

Interestingly, researchers have traced the origins of crystal meth to a Japanese chemist, who first synthesized the drug from another stimulant in 1893. Around this time, meth was used to treat several disorders including sleeplessness (narcolepsy), breathing problems (including asthma), and weight-loss (which prescription methamphetamines are used to treat today).

Originally, methamphetamine (and other amphetamine-type stimulants) was synthesized from a chemical in the ephedra plant, a shrub that has been an essential part of Chinese medical practice for approximately 5,000 years. In 1885, a chemist named Nagai Nagayoshi (who was living in Germany for his studies) discovered ephedrine, the stimulant that sparked the development of meth.

Pharmacies, Trenches, and Bennies

In 1932, Smith, Kline, and French (an American pharmaceutical company) began offering amphetamine inhalers (called benzedrine) to people suffering from breathing problems, and the success of this product gave way to the production of benzedrine pills (for sleep problems). Later, during World War II, members of the U.S., British, and German militaries reported using the pills for invigoration.

Subsequent use of benzedrine pills as recreational drugs spread in the 1950s, which renowned “Beat Generation” writers using the drugs, which they affectionately called “bennies.”

Crystal Meth Is Born

The 1980s marked the first appearance of illegal meth labs, and the United States began to hold a tighter grip on regulations for ephedrine (which was commonly used to make the drug at the time). As a result, cooks were turning to the next best option: pseudoephedrine, a component of cold meds. From the 1990s onward, the rate of crystal meth use in the United States skyrocketed. From 1994 to 2004, meth abuse increased from <2% to 5% in the adult population.

In 2006, the United Nations officially dubbed crystal meth the most dangerous addictive drug and the most abused substance on the planet.

Always remember that deadly drugs like crystal meth do not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance abuse disorder or addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.

The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug addiction and substance abuse troubles today.


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