Presentation on theme: "The History of Methamphetamine: An Epidemic In Context"— Presentation transcript:
1 The History of Methamphetamine: An Epidemic In Context Patricia Case, Sc.D.Harvard Medical School
2 AcknowledgementsThis research is partially supported by funding from the NationalInstitute on Drug AbuseThe views expressed in this paper are solely my own and do not reflectthe views of NIDA or the institutions by which the author is employed.I would like to express my gratitude to my tireless researchassistants Ari Reiter and Sean Ferriter and to brainybetty.com for thisPowerPoint template.
3 The past is never dead.It's not even past.William Faulkner
4 A Brief HistoryAmphetamine first synthesized in GermanyMethamphetamine synthesized in JapanAmphetamine used as a substitute for ephedrineBenzedrine (amphetamine) in OTC nasal inhalersBenzedrine tablets available by prescriptionBenzedrine used to treat ~39 other conditionsGorell recommends Benzedrine for fatigued doctorsFirst published report of amphetamine addictionFirst description of amphetamine psychosisEggleston: “there is not much danger of …addiction”Critical wartime period as all sides go to battle on amphetamines
7 Wartime Field Supplies “About that time I discovered Benzedrine.Loved those little white suckers. We could get asack full in those days. It sure didn't bother to getup at 3:00 AM anymore. Pop a couple of pillsand you were wide awake ready to take on thewhole world. If it kept you awake, just take a fewsleeping pills. Boy! Isn't medical science great orwhat!!”from the memoirs of USAF Captain Bryant L. Smick onflying missions over ItalyEveryone on the ship had taken two Benzedrine capsules when we reached bombing altitude – as if I needed anything to wake me up.From the memoirs of Herb Bach on a bombing run to Japan
10 A Brief History – II1951 Prescriptions required by federal law for amp containing products1958 ~3.5 billion tablets of legal amp tablets produced1959 First injection of Benzedrine extracted from inhaler reported1959 OTC Benzedrine inhalers withdrawn from the marketFirst OTC methamphetamine inhaler hits the marketEarly reports of illicit domestic production by biker gangsFederal law requires prescriptions required for meth productsOTC Methamphetamine inhalers withdrawn from the market31 million prescriptions written -- most to women1970 ~10 billion tablets of legal amp/meth tablets produced
15 Power and Writing1942 Hitler begins methamphetamine injections – perhapsLondon newspaper claims “Methadrine wins the Battle of London” - maybeJack Kerouac, under the influence, writes On The Roadin 21 days on a single scroll of paperBritish Prime Minister Anthony Eden “lived on Benzedrine”during the Suez CrisisJFK relies on injections of methamphetamine during the Cuban missile crisisWilliam Burroughs publishes “Speed”
17 Early Epidemiology1955: Newspaper estimates 3% of University of Md students using Benzedrine1966: Sadusk estimated that 800,000,000 methamphetamine pills made annually and 50% distributed illegally1970: Black surveyed 5,482 enlisted men, with 27% reporting drug use and of those, 37% reported lifetime use of amphetamines, 10% more than 100 times1971: Chambers estimates 35,000 New York household residents use “speed” regularly – 30 percent without prescription (compared to 6,000 regular users of cocaine)
18 Association with Sexuality 1937: “Stated that he was able to have sexual intercourse following the administration of the drug but that orgasm was almost instantaneous”1946: “A symptom which can regularly be observed in chronic alkaloid addicts is the homosexually toned perversion of their sex life”.1947: “The drug enabled him to indulge in auto-erotic activity four times in succession, making it indescribably delightful.”1952: [an addicted woman reported that] “an increase in sexual desire but a decrease in satisfaction”1953: [methamphetamine treated schizophrenic] “This is great. My penis feels much longer”.
19 Lessons of HistoryStimulant use is cyclic and endemic with outbreaks in the US. Stimulant cycles often followed by opiate/sedative/painkiller cycles.The trajectory of an outbreak appears to be1) exploratory2) medicalization3) concern and regulation4) diffusion and criminalization5) severe social impact6) regressionNew emergence and outbreaks with changes in technology, drug, economy or affected population group.
21 Methods of manufacture Until mid-1990’s, the P2P method was used to produce D,L-methamphetamine -- a racemic mixtureP2P, a precursor, was regulated and subject to strict enforcement and arrest for possessionProducers switched to the easier Birch (so-called Nazi) pseudoephedrine reduction method, producing very potent D-methamphetamineThe Birch reduction produces better “product” – diffusion brings more reliance on home production, less reliance on imported finished supplies.Importation of precursors and theft of precursors now rampant.
22 Key Differences The Internet Diffused local production, less reliance on importsMulti-drug use – no one uses only crystalNational outbreakVaried sub-populationsMore smokingStrong association with HIV, hepatitis C, STDsCommunity level responses to AIDS deaths, 9/11, warNational discussion
23 Meditations for the Conference What is the role of social class, poverty, abuse and marginalization in the present-day methamphetamine outbreak?Is it an outbreak or a continuation of an old pattern?What strategies have and haven’t worked worked in the past to lessen the problems of methamphetamine use?What are the “silences” – what population, what area, what pattern is not being discussed that needs to be?How does the knowledge presented here relate to everything you know about what’s going on at home?
24 Meditation on the Future What will happen with ProVigil, approved in 1998 and now used extensively by the military in Iraq?Drug keeps pilots awakeBy Peter Mucha, Inquirer Staff WriterA much-ballyhooed anti-drowsiness drug made by West Chester-based Cephalon Inc. is taking off as the Air Force's new "go-pill.“Provigil, also known by its generic name, modafinil, has been used more than 150 times this year by bomber crews to ward off sleepiness on missions of more than 12 hours.2005 Projected Sales: $400 million
25 “Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the thrill of death”-Hunter S. Thompson