Suggested Additional Reading

Courtwright, David T. Forces of Habit, Drugs and the Making of the Modern World. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001. David T. Courtwright is professor of history at the University of North Florida.

Davenport-Hines, Richard. The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics. New York: Norton, 2002. The author is a professional historian and a member of the Royal Historical Society.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper & Row, 1932. Huxley's book, written in 1932, paints a picture of a cloned society devoted only to the pursuit of happiness.

University Professor School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences State University of New York at Buffalo

[ Introduction_

Ice. Crystal. Tweakers. Raves. Narcolepsy. Dope. Amped. Psychosis. Alert. Smurfing. Dopamine. Jittery. Sudafed. Meth labs. Explosions. Paranoia. Crashing. Obesity. Railing. Brain Cravings. Euphoria. Depression.

What do all of these words have in common? Metham-phetamine, or simply meth. Yet there is nothing simple about this stimulating and highly addictive drug. Meth speeds up the nervous system. It makes you feel alert, focused, and euphoric, with powerful feelings of pleasure—at first. Then meth slams you to the ground as intensely as it lifts you up, with crushing depression, fatigue, and the inability to feel any pleasure. The brain develops tolerance to meth almost immediately, and starts to crave it. Meth creates dependency, and it is one of the hardest drugs to quit.

Over the past 10 years, meth use has increased dramatically in the United States. The number of people over the age of 12 who have tried meth at least once in their lifetime was 1.8 million in 1994. Just three years later, this number tripled to 5.3 million. By 1999, lifetime use had nearly doubled again to 9.4 million. Today, it is estimated that over 12 million people have used meth at least once. Teen meth use has actually declined slightly over this time, yet many teenagers suffer from meth dependency and addiction.

Meth is illegal to use, possess, manufacture, or distribute, except with a prescription from a doctor. These prescriptions are very limited and closely monitored because of meth's high potential for addiction. The federal penalty for a first offense is a five- to 40-year prison term, along with a fine of up to $2 million, depending on the amount of meth and other circumstances. If using, possessing, manufacturing, or distributing meth near a child, new laws have made penalties even stronger.

These and other statistics, such as the increasing number of meth labs and the growing number of Americans requiring treatment for meth abuse, contribute to the numerous media headlines telling us there is a meth epidemic in our country.

Why do teenagers use meth? How many teens actually use it? How does meth affect the brain? How can you tell if your friend is using meth? What are meth labs, and how do they affect teenagers and the community? Is there a meth epidemic?

Scientific research from many sources has been collected and presented in this book to address these questions. The purpose of this book is to help teenagers understand all aspects of meth use—its psychological, social, legal, community, and health consequences—so teens can decide for themselves what this drug is really all about.

Continue reading here: The History of Methamphetamine

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