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Abuse Of Prescription Drugs And Heroin

1836 words - 8 pages

In recent years criminologists have seen an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs and heroin. These drugs are nonetheless dangerous, widespread, and potent, however; they do not reign king in the context of epidemic or rampant proportions. In popular opinion the most ruthless drug is Methamphetamine, also known as meth, ice, crystal, crank, or speed. In earlier times meth was popular among rural more poverty stricken areas, now it invades urban areas as well. This is a problem, which is hard to contain and control.
It is hard to understand the dangerousness and why meth is so rampant without first examining the history of the drug and how it emerged into society. Meth is an amphetamine ...view middle of the document...

Methamphetamine was seen as a replacement to ephedrine and easier to synthesize, it was easier to administer as well. At this point in history pharmacologists believed amphetamine was a wonder drug.
In 1932 GlaxoSmithKline, in the form of inhalers, produced the first amphetamine on the market. These drugs along with a pill form released in 1937 were all over the counter drugs in the United States. Other drug companies became aware of the wonder drug and tried their hand in the market. GlaxoSmithKline held patents to Benzedrine (the brand name for methamphetamine), so similar drug companies created similar forms under different names.
Amphetamines were first recognized by pop culture around the 1940’s, and recognized by actors and musicians in the entertainment industry. Some popular entertainers known for using speed were; Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash. But amphetamines in the form of pills were not only limited to entertainers. It seemed to consume world leaders as well. Winston Churchill was known to use amphetamines along with Adolf Hitler in World War II. America’s hero in the 1960’s, John F. Kennedy also was known to take amphetamine injections twice a week. They were even issued in first aid kits for fighter pilots. In the early to mid-1900’s it is safe to say there was a high demand for amphetamine on the micro and macro level. In lieu of WWII the first public acknowledged use of methamphetamine outside of the pharmaceutical context was by veterans of the war. They quickly acknowledged the superior high it had compared to cocaine. With thousands of troops coming home from the war it wasn’t long before methamphetamine was thoroughly spread throughout the United States.
One of the first media exploitations of methamphetamine was in an article written by the Oakland Tribune in California. The article highlighted the experience of two users and their highs while using the drug. It accounted the hallucinations and everlasting energy experienced during the eight day high. The long lasting high was followed by a forty hour sleep. With similar articles popping up around the country in the 1960’s, law enforcement and legislations began to recognize a growing problem. Soon after the medical company began to face criticism by the media. Between 1966 and 1971 three major newspapers including; Time, New York Times, and Oakland Tribune reached an all-time high coverage of methamphetamine. During this time the public began to see aliases given to abuses of methamphetamines. Names given were speed freaks, meth freaks, meth monsters, and more commonly used meth heads. Also at this time the physical features of meth users is described. One newspaper article described a user as a speed freak, implying he looked like someone out of a concentration camp. It went on to further detail the users sunken in eyes, malnourished body, and missing teeth. By the mid 1970’s methamphetamine in the form of speed declined due to an increased focus on its...

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