History of Amphetamine & Methamphetamine Timeline
1887: Amphetamine was first synthesized by German chemist L. Edeleano and originally named phenylisopropylamine.
1919: Methamphetamine is first synthesized by Japanese scientist A. Ogata. Though there are references that predate this.
Late 1920s: Amphetamine investigated as a cure or treatment against a variety of illnesses and maladies. Amphetamine was found to raise blood pressure, enlarge nasal and bronchial passages, and stimulate the central nervous system.
1932: Marketed as Benzedrine in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat nasal congestion, hay fever and common colds.
1935: Physicians used amphetamine tablets to treat narcolepsy.
1937: Amphetamine is first approved by the American Medical Association for sale in tablet form. It is sold by prescription for use in the treatment of narcolepsy and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
1940: Methamphetamine is marketed under the trade name ‘Methedrine’ by Burroughs Wellcome.
World War II: Amphetamine widely distributed to soldiers to help them keep fighting. Nazi and Japanese troops use methamphetamine. German pilot shot down over England, was found with sugar tablets containing amphetamine. In Japan, intravenous methamphetamine abuse reached epidemic proportions immediately after World War II.
1942: Dextro-amphetamine and methamphetamine become commonly available.
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1950-1953: U.S. dispenses amphetamine to troops in Korea.
1950s: United States legally manufactured tablets of both dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methamphetamine (Methedrine). Both drugs became readily available and were used on medically by college students, truck drivers, and athletes. Amphetamines became a cure-all for such things as weight control to treating mild depression.
1954: Height of the Japanese methamphetamine epidemic. There are estimated to be over 2 million methamphetamine users in a population of 88.5 million.
1956: Anthony Eden used Benzedrine during Suez Crisis.
1959: First report of IV injection of contents from Benzedrine inhalers.
1960s: Mods’ and ‘rockers’ used Dexedrine (dexies), Durophet (blackbombers) and Drinamyl (Purple Hearts after their blue and triangular shape) which combined amphetamine and barbiturate in one pill. Methamphetamine use rises in the United States. It is given the name speed, along with amphetamine, due to its effects.
1961: John F Kennedy supposedly used methamphetamine at summit meeting in Vienna.
1963: Illicit speed production begins when the Attorney General of California requests that injectable ampoules be removed from the market.
1964: Illegal to possess or import amphetamines, but manufacturing and prescription were still allowed. Drinamyl ‘Purple Hearts’ were reshaped and renamed French Blues.
1966-69: In Vietnam US army used more amphetamine on its troops than the combined total of British and American forces during the Second World War.
1967-1968: Methamphetamine in the form of Methedrine ampoules becomes popular in Soho, London. Injecting among users escalates. Pharmacists voluntarily withdraw Methedrine in November 1968.
1970s: Recreational amphetamine use hit a peak in the seventies, driven mainly by three disparate subcultures. The ‘hippy’, Northern Soul and Punk scenes. Amphetamines become illegal in US with the passage of the ‘U.S. Drug Abuse Regulation and Control Act of 1970’. US is flooded with cocaine. Because amphetamines were made illegal people started, and continue, to manufacture aphetamines in home labs.
1971: Amphetamine and Methamphetamine (non-injectable) are moved from Schedule III to Schedule II.
1980s: After bowing out to cocaine in the 80s, the Ecstasy boom in the late 80’s brought amphetamine back into fashion once again.
Late 1980s: Smoked Methamphetamine (crystal meth) becomes more popular in US.
1990s: In the early 90s, the demand for Ecstasy was high but the quality was low. Many clubbers switched to amphetamine or cocaine.
1992: Use of methamphetamine increasing in California. Different street names – such as crank, glass, shards, ice and crystal – describe it’s many appearances. Generally the clearer and bigger the ‘crystal’ the purer form of methamphetamine it is.
1996: Congress passes the Methamphetamine Control Act establishing new controls over key ingredients and strengthening criminal penalties for possession, distribution and manufacturing.
2004: Methamphetamine use and production continue at high levels in Hawaii, Eastern Europe, Australia and USA. ‘Base speed’ still available in certain areas of UK. There is confusion over this as freebase amphetamine or methamphetamine are oily liquids and the ‘base’ referred to in the UK generally comes in a paste form, sometimes sticky or damp in appearance.
Early 2005: Amphetamine is generally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They are also used in the treatment of narcolepsy. Amphetamine use for weight loss is strongly discouraged by doctors, in all but some very severe cases.Predicted ‘crystal meth’ epidemic in the UK never happened, though ‘meth labs’ have started to spring up.
2007: Methamphetamine reclassified to a Class A drug in the UK. COCA Methamphetamine Watch report released. An online report showing a gradual increase in methamphetamine use. Report independently backed by police intellegence.
2011: Anecdotal information to suggested that powdered amphetamine is being cut with methamphetamine in the UK. Druglink magazine identifies an increase in use of methamphetamine.
2018: Methamphetamine use still relatively low in the UK though crystal meth is being ‘slammed’ (injected) at Chemsex parties which seems to be a growing issue. London is Chemsex party central of Europe and possibly the world.
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