April 11, 2008, Newsletter Issue #178: History of Amphetamine Use

Tip of the Week

Amphetamines began to be prescribed in the 1920s as a stimulant, and under various names both amphetamines and meth were used by the armed forces on both sides in World War II. Adolf Hitler is said to have received meth injections from his personal physician.

In the 1950s, meth and amphetamines were widely prescribed to Americans for treatment of everything from obesity to alcoholism. The illegal recreational use of meth began to grow in the 1960s, skyrocketed in the '80s, and may be continuing to grow today. Amphetamines are still prescribed for weight loss in some countries, but their use is regarded as dangerous and ineffective in the U.S. They are sometimes used illegally by long-haul truckers and others whose jobs require long periods of wakefulness.

At the same time, amphetamine-related drugs have found new, legitimate medical uses in treating attention-deficit disorder and narcolepsy.

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