Amphetamine was first synthesized by German chemist L. Edeleano in 1887. In 1928, a drug marketed as Benzedrine (a racemix of both isomers of amphetamine) became available over the counter as a treatment for asthma (Right, Advertisement for benzedrine inhalers, picture taken from http://wings.buffalo.edu/aru/preprohibition.htm without permision). In the late 1930ís, Benzedrine was prescribed for the narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
During World War II, (Left, picture taken from http://todaysseniorsnetwork.com/2005_memorial_day.htm without permission)soldiers were given survival packs with amphetamine tablets in. Amphetamine was given to combat battle fatigue.
It was rumoured that amphetamines were also given to reduce food intake during times of food shortage as, by then, it was well known that amphetamine was an appetite suppressant. Because of this, during the 60/70ís amphetamines were freely given to patients who where obese to help them lose weight.
In the 1950ís, Benzedrine became prescription only because increasing amounts of people were using amphetamines as a drug of abuse. Today, amphetamines (known as speed, meth, crystal meth, and ice on the street) are still drugs of abuse. Amphetamines can be swallowed, snorted, smoked and injected. Amphetamines are relatively easy to make in clandestine laboratories, and it is because of this that amphetamines are much cheaper than similar drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin.