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Methamphetamine is a man-made stimulant drug - a more potent form of the drug amphetamine. It was first synthesised from ephedrine in 1918, and was also used during World War II.
There are different forms of methamphetamine, generally distinguished by their appearance and perceived purity.
The three main forms are:
Crystalline methamphetamine (ice) is a highly purified form of methamphetamine with a crystal-like appearance. The only difference between ice and the other methamphetamines, speed and base, is that ice undergoes additional refinement to remove impurities. Ecstasy, which is sold as a tablet, is also a methamphetamine derivative.
Amphetamine was first synthesised in 1887, and was used in the 1930s to treat asthma. Today, amphetamines and amphetamine derivatives are used in the treatment of narcolepsy (a sleep disorder) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In 1935 a study of the effects of amphetamine in hospital workers found that the most commonly reported effects were a sense of wellbeing and exhilaration, and reduced fatigue, while during World War II amphetamine was extensively used to combat fatigue and increase alertness in soldiers.
Use the following websites to find information about specific drugs, including their long and short term effects, how they are used, legal status and information on mixing drugs.
Journal articles are a good source of explanations and discussions of drug and alcohol issues. There are several eresources with links to journal articles available in the State Library.