Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887 in Germany, and its more potent variant, methamphetamine, was developed in Japan in 1919. Nagayoshi Nagai was the first to synthesize methamphetamine from a chemical substance known as ephedrine. This variant of amphetamine was used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, and Parkinson's disease. However, it wasn't until the 1940s during World War II that methamphetamine became widely used. In the 1980s, after the federal government began regulating the key chemical used to produce methamphetamine, cooks supplying the drug to motorcycle gangs discovered that ephedrine in over-the-counter cold medicines could be used to create crystalline methamphetamine.
Although only 0.6% of the US population uses methamphetamine in any given year, there has been a significant increase in overdose deaths related to stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine in recent years. California became the country's largest producer of methamphetamine, with small laboratories spread across several locations. The CMA (Crystal Meth Anonymous) is a 12-step approach for methamphetamine addicts to receive support and companionship in their recovery. In 1919, Akira Ogata discovered a new method for synthesizing the crystalline form of the stimulant, giving the world crystalline methamphetamine. Since then, it has become an illicit phenomenon in family methamphetamine laboratories with a range of physical and psychological side effects.
Currently, there are more than 1.6 million Americans who claim to have abused crystalline methamphetamine sometime last year. At that time, Mexican drug cartels began supplying chefs with ephedrine and consumption of crystalline methamphetamine skyrocketed. Although crystalline methamphetamine is often thought of as an American street drug from the late 20th century, its origins date back to Japan in the late 19th century. Today, it is important to understand the history of this powerful stimulant and its effects on society.