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Methamphetamine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

When taken in

by the body, methamphetamine changes chemical balances in the brain and impairs nerve

functioning. Methamphetamine is not a naturally occurring chemical, and needs to be

synthetically created by man. The drug in its most pure form, is colorless, crystalline, solid

substance. The first person to ever synthesize methamphetamine was a Japanese chemist by the

name of Akira Ogata. In 1919, he discovered that by reducing the chemical ephedrine with other

substances, one could concentrate the drug into a solid form. The drug was originally used as an

ingredient in nasal decongestants, asthma inhalers, and as a treatment option for people with

chronic obesity and narcolepsy. However, in the 1970's the United States government classified

methamphetamine as a Schedule II drug, meaning that it has little to no significant potential for

medical use and a high potential for abuse. Methamphetamine's chemical structure (N-methyl-1-

phenylpropan-2-amine) is very similar to that of other stimulants like methcathinone and

amphetamine.

The purification process of methamphetamine is relatively dangerous compared to other

drugs like marijuana, cocaine, or heroine, which are all derived directly from naturally growing

plants. There are a variety of chemicals needed to create the final product of "meth," but the base

chemical needed to create this drug is either ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. One or both of these

chemicals is then mixed with an assortment of chemicals that one can actually find in any

average household. Some common additives can include, but are not limited to, alcohols,

benzene, turpentine, Freon, acetone, chloroform, butane, ammonia, gasoline, propane, salts, red

phosphorous, toluene, lye, drain cleaners, hydrochloric and battery acids, lithium, sodium metal,

and iodine. The resulting mixture is then either catalytically hydrogenated or condensed and

reduced to create the final product that is classified as methamphetamine. It is sold on the streets
for, on average, about $80-$100 dollars per gram, and goes by such monikers as "Speed, Meth,

Ice, Crystal, Chalk, Crank, Tweak, Uppers, Black Beauties, Glass, Bikers Coffee, Methlies

Quick, Poor Man's Cocaine, Chicken Feed, Shabu, Crystal Meth, Stove Top, Trash, Go-Fast,

Yaba, Tina, and Yellow Bam."

Until the early 1990's, methamphetamine was chiefly produced in makeshift, concealed,

hazardous laboratories run by drug traffickers in Mexico and California. Since then, however,

authorities have uncovered a steadily increasing number of small-scale methamphetamine labs

throughout the United States, radiating from the Southwest. These labs are mostly located in

suburban, remote, or extremely poor areas, being most prevalent in the suburban and rural areas

of Southwest/Midwest America. In 1995, Indiana State Police found only 6 meth labs, compared

to 2003 when they busted over 1,260 individual labs.