The real faces of meth may be more varied than the documentary legend reveals. Doctors at the National Health Institute in Taiwan recently experimented with lung cells infected with the H1N1-A virus, then exposed those cells to meth. They concluded in a report this month that the meth exposed cells had a much lower concentration of the virus after 30 to 48 hours than groups of cells without meth. But this news should not be as shocking as the latest reports have suggested.
Contrary to popular opinion, this is not the first time meth was named as a possible warrior against lung infections. Benzedrine, a methamphetamine, was used as early as the 1930s as a for a treatment for asthma, colds and chest infections.
Although the latest study is still in it's preliminary stages, researcher Yun Chen in Taiwan stated that the first evidence in the report shows that meth significantly reduces, rather than increases, the flu virus in the lung epithelial line.
However, it's probably not a good idea to stock up on meth for the flu season. Like other toxic drugs before it, the negative effects of habitual use of meth far outweigh the positive.
Among those negative effects, to name just a few, are: nerve lining damage, brain cell deterioration, tooth decay, "tweaking", heart damage, psychosis, depression, blood vessel constriction, skin cell damage and unhealthy weight loss, and last but not least -- death.
To better understand the history of the infamous drug, one has to look past its current reputation, and reassess its good, bad, and ugly presence. Meth was originally discovered in 1893 by Japanese chemist Nagayoshi. Its commercial pharmaceutical use was delayed for decades, while experimentation - with sometimes unexpected and hazarduous results - continued.
The early historical abuse of meth as a stimulant is said to have began in World War 2, when it was labeled as the drug Pervatin. Nicknamed "pilots salt", the drug was used by the German air-force to maintain alertness for extremely prolonged hours during the piloting of warcraft. Meth is also suspected in the early 1940s to have been the drug of choice for Adolph Hitler; to treat his "shaking" disease. Meth may have actually been the cause of Hitlers Parkinsons symptoms, and not the potential cure sought by his doctor -- Theo Morrell. Meth may also be the culprit responsible for Hitlers erratic, psychotic, and irresponsible behavior.
Meth was also used by Allied and US pilots in the 1940's to stay alert for prolonged periods; with many adverse side affects reported; confounding the numerous after affects of suspected "shell shock".
In the 1950s, meth was sold under the name of Philopon, and used widely by factory workers in Asia to enhance productivity. Meth continued to be used when labeled as Dexedrine in the Persian Gulf War, and is said to be responsible for the resulting drug addiction of many veterans.
Meth became popular as a recreational drug stimulant in the US in the 1960's; nicknamed "speed" and found in the diet drug Obitrol, and was also named "pep-pill". Meth has acquired many nicknames since then, among them: ice, rock, crystal, glass, crank, batu, shabu, tina, and many others.
The obvious has not been formally established yet by the latest research -- meth may probably inhibit and kill H1N1 virus in cells the same way it destroys other cell structures or components in humans -- by being a toxin, (or poison).
Although meth was approved by the FDA in the drug Desoxyn to treat obesity, ADHD, and narcolepsy, its prescriptive use remains controversial due to its sordid history.
As is typically the case with drugs that are capable of stimulating or altering senses, the overuse, abuse, and illegal manufacturing of meth continues to be widespread.
However, like other toxic drug substances before it, there may be a way to extract, alter, or control certain properties of meth to use beneficially in future treatments for certain types of influenza, and possibly other illnesses.
Other popular examples of potentially dangerous toxic drugs used in positive controlled medical treatments include opium (diamorphine), digitalis (digitalin), and botulinum (botox).