Even when it has the word "crystal" in front of it, meth is a downmarket drug, which summons up images of makeshift drug labs in run-down trailer parks. But meth, Salon notes in an essay on Frank Owen's new book, "No Speed Limit," has a rich history going back 90 years, spanning the whole socioeconomic gamut. Meth has traveled from over-the-counter wonder-drug to a top scorer in the "Index of Truly Bad Shit."
Originally dubbed Benzedrine in the 1920s, meth was marketed as a cure-all for maladies ranging from obesity to schizophrenia, Owen writes. In World War II, he claims, "GIs consumed an estimated 200 million pills," and a vast number returned home with serious habits. From there, it made stops as "mother's little helper" in the '60s, and libido enhancer in the gay club scene of the '90s.