The History of Crystal Meth

The History of Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth, which is short for methamphetamine in its crystallized form (as opposed to being either in a powder or rock formation), has become a very popular drug both in the United States and around the world. This drug, which was used almost three times more than crack cocaine in 1999, is not just a new fad. Crystal meth has been in existence close to one hundred years.

In 1893, Methamphetamine or crystal meth was first developed from ephedrine. A chemist by the name of Nagayoshi Nagai was responsible for this creation. It wasn’t until 1919, that methamphetamine was turned into its crystallized form by Akira Ogata. Ogata was able to do this by reduction of ephedrine using iodine and red phosphorous. Amphetamine, which is a related drug, first came into existence in 1887 by a Lazar Edeleanu in Germany. Methamphetamine manufacturing initially began in the United States in Hawaii in the 1960s.

The “Flyer’s Chocolate”

One of the earliest uses of methamphetamine occurred during World War II. The German military dispensed Pervitin which was methamphetamine. It was freely administered to both tank crews and aircraft personnel. Chocolate was often dosed with methamphetamine and was known as Fliegerschokolade or "flyer's chocolate". Panzerschokolade or "tanker's chocolate" was given to tank crews.

Hitler and Crystal Meth?

For last three years of Hitler’s life, 1942 - 1945, Adolf Hitler received daily IV injections of methamphetamine by his doctor, Theodor Morell. This was done as treatment for depression and fatigue. Historians have speculated that this was done to treat Parkinson’s disease. However, it is unsure as to whether Hitler had Parkinson’s or if the Parkinson like symptoms (pill rolling finger movements, ataxia or unsteady gait) were due to abuse of methamphetamines.

The Advent of Shabu

After World War II, what became known as “Shabu” or amphetamine became largely available in Japan. This occurred because the Japanese military no longer utilized the drug. In 1951 Shabu became prohibited by the Japanese Ministry of Health banned. The banning of the drug is thought to have contributed to the overproduction of methamphetamine in Japan. Even today, crystal meth is strongly associated with the Japanese underworld and has a strong social taboo associated with it.

After the War

In the 1950s methamphetamine became a more commonly prescribed drug. It was often prescribed for the following:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Alcoholism
  • Treatment of obesity
  • Post encephalitic Parkinsonism

By the 1960s there was a more significant use of illegally manufactured methamphetamines by users within their own homes. Since Crystal meth is made from everyday household chemicals and common household components, it makes it easy to manufacture. Today, instructions for making crystal meth can be viewed on websites and until quite recently, Sudafed, a major component of crystal meth can be purchased in bulk without question. An ounce of crystal meth worth up to $1000 can be made with just eighty dollars of products from your local hardware and pharmacy.

In the 1980’s use of methamphetamine peaked. In fact, San Diego, California was considered the methamphetmine capital of the North America by The Economist magazine.

If There Was Any Doubt, Crystal Meth is Illegal

The United States passed laws in 1983 prohibiting possession of equipment and precursors for methamphetamine production. Shortly thereafter, Canada passed a very similar bill. The Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act was passed by the government in an effort to decrease the growing rate of designer drugs, both in use and production. Regardless of said efforts, use of Crystal meth expanded all throughout the United States especially in the South and Midwest. It is in rural places that clandestine labs are often set up. This is because production of crystal meth causes toxic smells. Since for every pound of crystal meth there is five to six pounds of toxic waste produced, being in a clandestine area is ideal. If there is no one around, waste can be dispersed throughout the yard and surrounding areas. This is also why police officials have become more observant regarding crystal meth production.

There have been five federal laws and many state laws written since 1989 in order to try to curb production of methamphetamine. Pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, sales have been restricted in order to reduce the amount of the main ingredient of methamphetamine available to the general public. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 was written especially to combat the sales of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine that an individual may purchase in a specified time period. In addition, there are other requirements regarding storage of these products in order to prevent theft.

Is It Going Anywhere, Anytime soon?

Despite efforts by law enforcement, crystal meth use is still alive and raging throughout the United States and the world. It is a serious issue which will take much more work and effort to combat. For this reason, it is quite feasible that in a few more years, crystal meth will have again appeared in the news yet again, creating an even more interesting history for itself than it has now.


  1. McGregor C, Srisurapanont M, Jittiwutikarn J, Laobhripatr S, Wongtan T, White J (2005). "The nature, time course and severity of methamphetamine withdrawal.". Addiction 100 (9): 1320-9.
  2. Nagai N. (1893). "Kanyaku maou seibun kenkyuu seiseki (zoku)". Yakugaku Zashi 13: 901.
  3. Methamphetamine. Drugscope. Retrieved on 2006-12-28.
  4. Doyle, D (2005). "Hitler's Medical Care" (PDF). Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 35: 75-82. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  5. M. Tamura (1989-01-01). Japan: stimulant epidemics past and present. Bulletin on Narcotics 83-93. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Retrieved on 23 September, 2007.
  6. Cunningham JK, Liu LM. (2003) Impacts of Federal ephedrine and pseudoephedrine regulations on methamphetamine-related hospital admissions. Addiction, 98, 1229-1237.
  7. Rothman, et al. "Amphetamine-Type Central Nervous System Potently than they Release Dopamine and Serotonin." (2001): Synapse 39, 32-41 (Table V. on page 37)

Topic Discussion

  1. Addict

    Crystal Meth is usually smoked, but is sometimes snorted or injected. The drug is abused because of its euphoric effects.

    • Addict

      Duh... you think? That was a very helpful comment, captain obvious! You forgot that some meth users often eat meth wrapped in toilet paper for a completely different high, often times compared to taking MDMA.. or X, for all who arent familiar with or dont care about the chemical structure of their drugs.. Anyway, to the author: Great article! Very informative. No sarcasm intended. I was actually very curious about several of the facts listed, and I feel more informed and satisfied than I did before I read it! Thanks!

  2. Addict


    • Addict

      Well I guess as Dr. Phill says because according to our professionals we are born with addictive genes from our parents!!!! Now you sentence your own children to hell unless you get lucky out 4 children and 1 got the luck of beating the gene and got less then your siblings! And since Meth was created not by us but SORRY another country and ( allowed to be unleashed on Americans) okay that would be CHEMICAL WARFARE PEOPLE!!!!! Are we not depending on protection from our government as Meth is killing and punishing its intended prey!!!! And then our justice system is labeling the victims by branding them as felons and they are poor week users instead of the ones making a profit off their own people, Most have lost jobs and we have high school kids losing fast food, yard jobs and we are unleashing them into our world after we as US CITIZENS, MOTHERS, FATHERS failed to do what god expected us to do. See our children as a gift and protect with our lives which only animals do and would die to do! I am ASHAMED of you all.............. We are sending our babies out to slaughter by the ones WE PAY TO PROTECT THEM and are supposed to be our protectors! We now pay to have our kids tortured and beat down!!! Yet our right to spank or raise a respectful, helping ,a human instead of a monster or society is creating! NO HEART, NO SOUL, No feelings for even their own grandparents! WHY WE HAVE CREATED THE PERFECT WEAPON AS HITLER DID HIS MONSTERS ARE NOW OUR MONSTERS CREATED BY OUR GOVERNMENT! I have so much sadness from this because our family system wasn't worth us fighting a war for! SHAME ON ALL PARENTS THAT DON'T FEEL AT FAULT! THINK AND STOP LIVING IN STEPFORD THE NEW USA!!!

  3. Addict

    I agree this article was very informative and people that say I am only going to try once or used once I recomend to see the montana ads or comercial they are very self explicit is not such thing of just once


    • Addict

      And don't allow TOXIC WARFARE to happen to your loved people! My god what I am reading, scares me because people are taking the drug that is our destruction and where do you think it is being allowed to work through! WHERE THE H--- IS ALL THE HOMELAND SECURITY WE SOOOO DESPERATELY NEED TO PROTECT US? THAT ARE TRAINED TO KILL IF NEEDED AND TRAINED TO NOT HAVE ANY FEELINGS BUT TAKE OUT NO PROBLEM! HELLO THEY ARE WORKING AT YOUR POLICE STATIONS AND ARE WHOSE PROTECTING YOUR CHILDREN AND FAMILY'S??? DAHHHH destroying and breaking US!!! We are their toys and we are paying our hard earned tax money to break and fear! I am in fear when I leave home and if anyone says they feel nothing but kindness and safety with this then there truly isn't hope for the united states of America! GOD HELP OUR WEAK GUTLESS SUBMISSIVE SOULS!

  4. Addict

    Meth cannot be made without pseudoephedrine or ephedrine. If the sale of cold medications containing these 2 chemicals were stopped, meth could not be "cooked". Thus the meth epidemic is the direct result of the insanity of those ruining the FDA that continue to allow pseudoephedrine to be sold in pharmacies. FDA insanity is no different than Hitler's insanity when he gave meth to his troops to make them more violent.

    • Addict

      OK, you're close but no cigar. First off you can't just make a substance illegal, then expect the government to enforce it. Sounds good on paper, but that does'nt work in in reality. People are going to do what they want. A case in point, "prohibition" it did'nt work then and it would'nt work now. Alcohol got out of control. (bars, lounges, etc.) were in place during this time then before or after the 31st amendment was repealed. Just like today, there was violence in the streets, poor quality control (bath tub gin) sales to minors and many more problems, not to mention the creation of the mafia. AL Capone got his start by supplying the people with what they wanted. no force on earth can stop this, people gonna do what they wanna do. However, once the 31st amendment war repealed we took control of alcohol. It's still not perfect, and kills more people every year then all the drugs combined. At least the criminal element has been removed, no more killings over turf and product. At least it's better now then when it was illegal The only way to stop or at least reduce the use of drugs is through information, honest information. not the bullshit they tell us now. Case in point. cigarettes. granted they're not gone yet, but through honest information given to the next generation we have reduced the number of future smokers and maybe some day they'll be gone all together. So I guess what I'm saying is we don't need more useless laws banning something, otherwise loyal, honest, trustworthy citizens into criminals just to keep the cartels, and the government in steady cash, that's insane. Granted, a lot of people would have to find other means of employment, like jailors, judges and all others that have to do with the prosecution, sentencing, confinement of citizens. 80% of citizens in jail today are there for a drug related offense, which means that except those with a violent crime could be cut loose. Oh yea, most lawyers would need to find something else do as well. so what I'm going to suggest now will seem crazy to most everybody. Think about it, if "all drugs" were made legal what would really happen, well for one thing, the cartels would be out of business, because now the government has taken control of the manufacturing of the drugs to "insure purity" . better then "bath tub" crank, the way I see it.. If we spent all the money that we now spend on this so called "war on drugs" (about 10 billion dollars a year) and spent it on educating the next generation, good rehab centers like Betty Fords or better. These two alone could do more towards the drug problem then to just keep locking citizens up. (people gonna do what people wanna do.) this is just common sense if you really think about it with an open mind. and yes "honest information" is the key. like warnings on the packaging of the drugs we buy at the "drug" store, like for instance "meth" if you're going to use this drug you need to eat and sleep, if you don't do this, you can expect to have, hallucinations, pick at your skin, develop conspiracy theories, etc, etc ,etc. at least we were informed. not by some bull shit t.v. commercial showing some burn out in the shower with scabs all over their body cowering in the corner. Granted, I have only known a few people like that, however the vast majority of people I know doing meth are not like that at all. I've known heroin users that as long as they had the drug, got up and went to work came home had dinner and went to bed every day relatively normal lives. It's better then locking them up to continue the support of some aspects of the government, law enforcement, judicial, guards for all those desperate druggies, the people who build the prisons, and the list goes on and on. All at the expense of our mothers , fathers, brothers and sisters. We need to take control of this problem now. legalization of all drugs is the only sane way to do this. Let's take the dealers off the streets, lets brake the backs of the cartels, let's stop the insanity. Just think about it with an open mind. people are gonna do what their gonna do. LET'S STOP THE INSANITY!

      • Addict

        Totally agree with your post. I live in Australia and after finding out that in the states they lock you up for possession. Made my brain spin all that time and money spent by the government locking up user's instead of the king pin's or legalizing it.Here in Australia they put you in a 3 month plan to at least educate and try to help you quit. I know every country around the world has it's own problems which won't be solved by making something illegal. And for some reason people in the government think that. One example in South Australia you where allowed to grow 3 cannabis plants for personal use. Then came along a new prime minister and though he was so clever by making it illegal it would solve the problem. It did the total opposite it pushed the prices up by almost triple around $3600 per pound and even more in other sates. So what do you think happened next? more people started growing it because of the profit. And now that idiot P.M has helped the problem grow even bigger!!!

        • Addict

          I think that legalizing meth would be the craziest thing that the government could ever do. Meth is not just a drug. It takes your life over. I don't know one person who does meth that is a normal functioning human-being. When you try meth you either like it and continue to do it or you don't like it and never try it again. There are only 7 percent of people in the United States that try meth and come off of it for good. That is a very little percent of people. Here in Alabama where I live it is a bad drug that has taken over everyone. It is something that needs to be controlled before our children become the meth addicts. I believe to the fullest that meth is without a doubt the worst drug this world has ever seen. I have been there and done it and can say that I am one of the 7 percent of people who become clean and never will do it again. There are pregnant women killing babies in there wound with this drug, grown people who have everything losing it all because of this drug, people blowing up there house and killing their neighbors with meth. Enough is enough. it is time for the government to get a control on this.

  5. Addict

    Coming from a former crystal meth addict (4yrs clean ).. this article was very very informative.. meth is easier to make than a lot of people realize. It is so evil and unfortunately it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

  6. Addict

    I think this a good educational site for people to be researching about crystal meth and that you should stay drug free and say no to drugs and just stay in school and have fun and if u make it in school you can make it anywhere you want so stay in school be confident.

  7. Addict

    As mentioned in previous comments about people with great lives losing everything to meth and houses being blown up due to meth, children no longer a mother's first priority because meth has won first place over them does have a lot to do with it being illegal. Believe me when I say that legalizing meth would be a scary step to take, but might be the answer too. What do we really have to lose as a whole? I'm not talking about individual lives because even cigarettes and alcohol take over individual lives, but past experience has proven that keeping alcohol legal reduced problems as a whole. As also mentioned in other comments, "people are going to do what people want to do" Now, it is for that exact reason why houses are being blown up. Because meth is illegal, people try making it themselves. Because meth is illegal, people end up spending their rent money on it. Because it is illegal, mothers turn their primary focus on trying to find it and a way to pay for it instead of taking care of their children first. We have places that manufacture cigarettes, breweries for beer and ale, vineyards for wine and now even dispensaries for "medical marijuana" which are all legal. The choices to use these substances have been left up to the individual and education in schools is put in place instead of making them illegal. Maybe the reason meth is the biggest and worst problem in our society now is because it's not legal like these other substances are. If you could go to a "store" and buy this at a much lower cost and not have to hunt around and play the waiting game on trying to get it, then at least the people who do choose to use it like the other substances mentioned (methadone too and prescribed opiates) will at least be way less likely to spend their food and rent money on it. It may not make them a better mother just because of the extra time they now have with their children, but neither does alcohol nor methadone, both legal. When I say what we have to lose as a whole, I say it because obviously the meth epidemic is not going down (but cigarette smoking is due to education). Meth use is still climbing at a very high rate and will never go down in spite of the efforts to limit cold medicines being bought or any other method of making it harder to manufacture. In fact, the opposite is and will continue to happen. We have seen this as proof in the past, such as with alcohol. Believe me when I say, that even after everything I have said here, I too, would be scared to take the step of legalization of meth, but what else do we have to lose and what else can we do? We just keep putting the addict in jail while the people manufacturing are free. That makes no sense either.

  8. Addict

    YOU ARE CORRECT! Prohibition! A fine example, come on people education, regulation; let's build more schools than we do prisons. I have thought about the reasons why are we still wasting our resources and I too call it JOB SECURITY it is all about keeping power for the government ,and people down . locking people up has and is costing tax payers big bucks -the cost of incarceration for just one prisoner and the burden of the tax payers to have to support a large percent of the children they are taken from .the welfare system is left to support them. It is so clear to see the future and that is scary time is going to run out and beyond repairing the mess .really what is there to lose?

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