Editorials

Control of methamphetamine misuse

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39225.469630.80 (Published 07 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1176
  1. Tracy D Gunter, assistant professor of psychiatry
  1. Psychiatry Research, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA
  1. tracy-gunter{at}uiowa.edu

    Policy should target substance misuse as a whole, rather than single substances

    Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that has caused serious public health problems globally.1 As it is relatively easy to manufacture from precursor substances, regulation of precursors has taken centre stage in global strategies for drug control. Recently, the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency announced that the precursors pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, also used in flu remedies sold over the counter, may in future be available on prescription only.2

    Methamphetamine was first synthesised in Japan in 1919 and has been manufactured legally in the United States since the 1950s. Use declined during the 1970s when the public became aware of the harms of amphetamines and practitioners were inhibited from prescribing them by the Controlled Substance Act (1970) www.answers.com/topic/single-convention-on-narcotic-drugs. However, when methamphetamine re-emerged in the 1980s, it had been transformed into …

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