Methamphetamine vs Crystal Meth

Similarities, Differences & Dangers

The Difference Between Crystal and Meth

Crystal meth and meth, even though used for different purposes are fundamentally the same thing. The chemical n-methyl, 1- phenyl-propane, 2-amine is called methamphetamine or for short, meth. In crystalline for, it becomes crystal meth. Chemically they are the same, but their structural makeup is different, varying in form and levels of purity. It’s safe to classify both as meth, that way you can cover a broader scale of the different forms in which it is available.

Both crystal meth and methamphetamine are made in labs illegally throughout the country. The drugs are usually snorted, smoked or injected and are considered stimulants. A form of meth, amphetamine or Desoxyn, is legal and a chemical used to create drugs like Adderall or Ritalin that are used for Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The History of Methamphetamine

The Department of Health as well as many other organizations report that meth was  discovered in Japan in 1919 and shortly thereafter, introduced to the US, being given to American soldiers to keep them alert and going during World War II. The method used to produce the drug was known as the Nazi or Birth method. By the 1950’s and 1960’s, speed was being prescribed in the United States for obesity. It did not take long for its popularity to grow because of its ability to not only aid in weight loss, but also to get a “rush” or a “high”. In 1980, the government intervened and began regulating the distribution of phenyl -2- propane, which is the precursor chemical for meth. This reduced the number of home labs but, the West Coast soon discovered that ephedrine could be substituted and created an even more potent form of meth. The intensity of the high doubled with the introduction of ephedrine. Mexican drug runners supplied large amounts of ephedrine to the cooks, causing many meth labs to spring up primarily on the West Coast but, this quickly filtered to the entire country.

By the mid 80’s the Drug Enforcement Agency was seeking ways to control the growth, manufacturing and use of meth. They placed regulations on illicit drugs such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. This resulted in a compromise between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the pharmaceutical companies. The compromise was that restrictions would immediately be placed on the raw materials but not on the over the counter cold medicines that stemmed from the chemicals. This allowed the pharmaceutical companies to continue generating revenue from the drug. This only resulted in the meth cooks creating a way to extract the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine from the cold pills in order to continue to manufacture meth.

The following decade the popularity would soar to new explosive heights. The cooks  discovered many new ways to purify the drug and enhance the high. This created an outburst of meth labs nationwide. Drug rehab centers, like Narconon and others began seeing more patients naming meth as their primary drug of choice. Mexican drug lords stepped up to increasing their supply to the U.S. in order to boost their revenue. In the mid 90’s an agreement was reached between the U.S. and the foreign suppliers of ephedrine to cease exporting to the cartels. This only prompted the cooks to “cut” or diminish the quality and lessen the purity of the meth.

In the late 90’s, the drug took a stronghold in the Midwestern part of the country. There was a notable expansion of meth abuse in the rural, less populated areas. By 1997, Narconon drug prevention and treatment counselor noted an alarming spurt of growth of meth use, specifically in the south and southwest as well as the central United States.

Abuse & Trafficking

In 2003, a National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that approximately 12-million Americans had tried meth at least once.

Much trafficking of the drug has been put on Mexican drug cartels. Reports indicate that these groups have increased the supply of meth cooked in Super Labs and smuggled it into the U.S. starting before 2004. During this time the supply of meth in the U.S. once again became more pure and potent. The drug was also being made in the United States as well using over the counter medicines like pseudoephedrine, a drug used in Sudafed and other over the counter cold medicines.

Oklahoma became the first state to regulate the sales of pseudoephedrine products in 2004.

In Closing

Today’s meth is far more potent than the meth sold many years ago, and the infiltration of meth in society continues. The recipe for homemade meth is still in circulation and available over the Internet. It is cheap and easy to make, which when combined with the long lasting high makes meth a popular substitute for cocaine. A new generation of users has made meth their drug of choice, leading to an epidemic of meth and meth labs across the country. What was once considered a drug only to be favored in the rural parts of the country has now widely spread to the suburbs and the inner city areas as well.

Getting Help

Whether you’re struggling with methamphetamine addiction or crystal meth, there is help available to permanently recover from these issues. Call Narconon at 800-468-6933.