Methamphetamine Use: Clinical and Forensic Aspects

Methamphetamine Use: Clinical and Forensic Aspects

Methamphetamine Use: Clinical and Forensic Aspects

Methamphetamine Use: Clinical and Forensic Aspects


Growing in popularity more than any other illegal drug, methamphetamine has been shown to produce a paranoid psychotic state, which may recur months or years after use. The first to cover virtually every aspect of amphetamine/methamphetamine use and abuse, this book reviews the history, pharmacology, pathology, and physiology of methamphetamine as well as its use in criminal forensic cases. It addresses Daubert considerations as well as victim/witness credibility, competency to confess and to stand trial, criminal responsibility, extreme emotion as mitigation to murder, and dangerousness. It also details statutes and case law to represent perspectives of both the prosecution and the defense.


Since 1620, when the Puritans arrived on the Mayflower, Americans have been ambiguous in their attitudes and beliefs about drugs. It began with alcohol. A quote from the Mayflower log reads, “We could not now take time for further search or consideration, our victuals having been much spent, specifically our beer.” On board ship the Puritans carried 42 tons of beer, 10,000 gallons of wine, and 14 tons of water (Lee, 1963). However, in 1629, the first laws concerning the use of alcohol in the New World were introduced by the Virginia Colonial Assembly (Cherrington, 1920): “Ministers shall not give themselves to excess in drinkinge, or riott, or spending their tyme idellye day or night.” In 1633, Plymouth Colony prohibited the sale of more than 2 pence worth of spirits to “anyone but strangers just arrived.” In 1637, Massachusetts ordered that “no persons shall remain in any tavern longer than necessary occasions.” Despite these laws, by 1640 the first distillery had been built on Dutch-owned Staten Island.

Thus, from our beginnings we have had this love/hate relationship with drugs. The first settlers arrived with tons of alcohol and almost immediately began to legislate against its use. Then they started building distilleries. This ambiguous behavior continued for centuries. The Revenue Act of 1791 called for taxation on whiskey, which incited the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791. The Revenue Act was repealed in 1802. The first temperance movement began in 1826. The basic philosophy was that beer was good and whiskey was bad. The second temperance movement, 1874, decreed that all alcohol is “evil.” Meanwhile, whiskey and brandy were considered by both physicians and the populace as medicinal drinks. Prohibition was enacted in 1920 and repealed in 1933.

Good vs. Bad Drugs

Americans have a tendency to see all things in black and white. Drugs are good or bad. In 1874 beer was good, whiskey was bad. In today's world, natural is good, synthetic is bad. We develop these ideas by listening to our teachers, clergy, parents, politicians, and the media. However, no matter what

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