Ice And Speed, The Drugs That Kept Soldiers Awake And A President Young

Ice is more readily smoked than other methamphetamines, but can also be injected. from shutterstock.com

What It’s Used For

Ice is used as a stimulant. It will keep people awake; make them feel more energetic as well as capable and confident.

A prescription drug – methamphetamine hydrochloride (brand name Desoxyn) – is sometimes used in the United States to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity that is resistant to other treatments.

However, Desoxyn’s manufacturer provides several warnings about the health and dependency risks of using the drug.

Side Effects

Common problematic effects of ice use include insomnia, weight loss, dental problems related to jaw clenching and teeth grinding, dehydration, mental health problems, injuries, infections (related to injecting and also risky sex) and heart palpitations.

People typically experience a “crash” when coming down from ice where they feel physically and emotionally drained. More serious health problems include heart attacks, high blood pressure and stroke. Those dependent on the drug often go back to using it even though they want to stop.

How It Was Developed

Romanian chemist Lazar Edeleanu created amphetamine sulphate in 1887 from a Chinese plant called ma-huang, also known as ephedra.

In routine commercial drug development, methamphetamine was developed from amphetamine in Japan in 1919 to relieve fatigue. It was widely used in World War II to keep troops awake as well as to treat asthma (because it dilated the bronchial tubes in the lungs) and narcolepsy.

Methampetamine, as opposed to amphetamine, was a crystalline powder that was soluble in water and could be more easily injected than amphetamine sulphate.

Civilians started using methamphetamine during the 1940s, both legally and illegally. It was prescribed as a diet aid, for depression and to treat heroin addiction in San Francisco clinics.

Methamphetamine was used to keep people awake for partying, driving long distances and studying for exams. Considered harmless, methamphetamine was readily available from doctors during the 1960s.

Interesting History

US President John F. Kennedy received regular methamphetamine injections to keep him young. White House Press Office (WHPO)/Wikimedia Commons

United States President John F. Kennedy received regular injections of methamphetamine to help maintain his youthful vigour, as did other music and film stars.

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