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Japanese Were Cooking Meth Before Walter White Made it Cool

Meth has many names: crank, chalk or ice. But whatever you call it, the chronic addiction to the drug has now shifted to North Korea, where reports say nearly 50 percent of the population is addicted to it. The country’s addiction to crystal meth might have something to do with being so close to the place that originally invented it: Japan.

It was created in 1893 by a Japanese chemist synthesized Methamphetamine from Ephedrine, and became known as “Shabu” in Japanese. It wasn’t until decades later during WWII that meth really became popular. Kamikaze pilots would even use it before going on their final missions.

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