In the late 19th century, a Japanese chemist named Nagai Nagayoshi first synthesized methamphetamine, a stimulant drug that would later become known as crystal meth. However, it wasn't until the 1920s that Gordon A. Alles re-synthesized the substance for therapeutic purposes. In the 1980s, the United States began to tighten regulations on the sale and use of ephedrine, a pharmaceutical precursor used to manufacture crystalline methamphetamine.
This gave users a rapid and intense high, making crystalline methamphetamine more addictive and potentially more harmful than other forms of methamphetamine. At that time, Mexican drug cartels began supplying chefs with ephedrine and the consumption of crystalline methamphetamine took off. In 1919, a young protégé from Nagai named Akira Ogata discovered a new method for synthesizing the crystalline form of the new stimulant, giving the world crystalline methamphetamine. Law enforcement agencies saw an increase in methamphetamine laboratories, where methamphetamine was created with pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter decongestant. In the 1980s, after the federal government began regulating the key chemical used to produce methamphetamine, cooks who supplied the drug to motorcycle gangs discovered that the ephedrine in over-the-counter cold medicines could be used to create crystalline methamphetamine. But since then, methamphetamine has become an illicit phenomenon in family methamphetamine laboratories, a total addiction and a series of physical and psychological side effects. Recent data indicate that only 0.6% of the U.
S. population uses methamphetamine in any given year, but trends show a significant increase in overdose deaths related to stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine in recent years. To combat this issue, many organizations have developed programs such as the Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), which is a 12-step approach for methamphetamine addicts to receive appropriate support and companionship in their recovery.