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CHM101 Final Essay - University of Toronto Department of...

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University of Toronto Department of Chemistry CHM101 The chemistry and biology of organic molecules The biological and chemical properties and effects of (S) -N -methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine (methamphetamine) Paula Martins 990297166 April 8, 2011 Prof. Rob Batey
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Abstract Also known as meth, crystal meth, ice, speed, glass and tweak, methamphetamine is a synthesized and potent stimulant for the central nervous system that is illegal or highly controlled in most parts of the world 1 . Methamphetamine can act as a sleep inhibitor and causes alertness, concentration, euphoria and increased sexual desire 2 . This highly addictive drug has an extremely high potential for abuse because it activates dopamine and norepinephrine, the reward neurotransmitters of the brain 3 . Referred to as ‘the poor-man’s cocaine’, meth can be easily synthesized in clandestine labs, making it less expensive to purchase on the streets, and users can feel its effects for over eight hours 3 . This paper examines the chemical and biological effects caused by methamphetamine as well as the current global epidemic by focusing on the history and current knowledge of the drug, the modes of administration, its chemical composition and pharmacology, synthesis, health effects (short and long term) and potential treatments. Current Knowledge According to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the chemical name for methamphetamine is (S) -N-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine 4 . The chemical formula for meth is C 10 H 15 N and its chemical structure can be seen in figure 1 4 .
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Meth is synthesized and sold in a crystalline form that is odorless and looks like pieces of shard glass 5 . Continuous meth abuse can result in various short- and long-term physical and psychological affects 5 . Synthetic drugs such as meth can be produced anywhere and in large quantities, unlike cocaine and heroine for which production is limited by geography and climate 6 . Clandestine labs and ‘meth cooks’ are becoming more sophisticated, increasing not only the purity of the meth produced but also the quantities 6 . It is estimated that just over 500 tons of meth and other amphetamines are produced yearly 6 . Studies have concluded that meth use is predominantly a white, low-income phenomena, however its popularity is spreading to other ethnicities and a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds 7 . History Ephedrine, a common precursor to methamphetamine, was originally isolated from the plant ma haung, also known as ephedra, in 1885 by Japanese chemist Nagayoshi 8 . Lazar Edelano first synthesized amphetamine, which is closely related to methamphetamine, in 1887 in Germany 8 . In 1893, Nagoyoshi synthesized methamphedamine 1 . While, crystallized methamphetamine was synthesized in 1919 by Japanese chemist A. Ogata by reducing ephedrine using iodine and red phosphorus 9 .
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