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Meth Mania: A History of Methamphetamine

Nicholas L. Parsons
Meth Mania: A History of Methamphetamine
ISBN: 978-1-58826-983-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-387-7
2013/242 pages/LC: 2013020812
Social Problems, Social Constructions

This book also available as a Nook Book from Barnes & Noble
Also of Interest:  Making Sense of Social Problems: New Images, New Issues, edited by Joel Best and Scott R. Harris; Judging Victims: Why We Stigmatize Survivors, and How They Claim Respect by Jennifer L. Dunn;  Responding to School Violence: Confronting the Columbine Effect, edited by Glenn W. Muschert, Stuart Henry, Nicole L. Bracy, and Anthony A. Peguero, editors; and Substance Use and Abuse: Exploring Alchohol and Drug Issues edited by Sylvia I. Mignon, Marjorie Marcoux Faiia, Peter L. Myers, and Earl Rubington
"Sociologists and other social scientists who investigate drugs from any number of perspectives will find much to appreciate about the book. Sociology undergraduates and graduate students alike will [also] benefit from this vivid illustration of how social problems come and go."—Christopher R. Freed, Contemporary Sociology

"A must read for anyone seeking to understand how historical, political, societal, and contextual factors that involve stakeholders and claims makers with diverse interests shape and influence perceptions and responses to problems such as methamphetamine."—Rashi K. Shukla, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

"A well-written, detailed account of methamphetamine use in the US."—Choice

"Provocative and illuminating."—Jacob Sullum, Forbes

"A critical history of meth, written with verve and insight.... It is also a guidebook for deconstructing the making of drug panics in general.... This one needs to be on the bookshelf of any serious drug and drug policy student."—P. Smith,

"Impressive—and refreshing. Armed with a vast body of research, Parsons shows how concerns about methamphetamine have ebbed and flowed over time, and also how this ‘epidemic’ compares with other drug scares. The reader, whether new to the topic or already knowledgeable, will leave this book with a better understanding of the many dimensions of the issue."—Ralph Weisheit, Illinois State University


Ice. Methedrine. Crank. Crystal. Whatever its guise, the social and political contexts of methamphetamine share a certain uniqueness. Nicholas Parsons chronicles the history and mythology of methamphetamine in the United States from the 1940s—when it was hailed as a wonder drug—to the present. In an intriguing analysis, he also makes an important contribution to our understanding of the social construction of social problems.


Nicholas L. Parsons is associate professor of sociology at Eastern Connecticut State University.


  • From Wonder Drug to Public Health Menace.
  • Early Drug Use.
  • The Emergence of Amphetamines.
  • The First Scare: Speed Freaks.
  • The Black Market Takes Off.
  • The Second Scare: Ice.
  • The Third Scare: Crystal Meth.
  • Context and Consequences.
  • New Panics, New Approaches.