OVERRIDE

No Speed Limit

The Highs and Lows of Meth

Frank Owen

St. Martin's Press

            Hells Angels and fallen televangelist Ted Haggard. Cross-country truckers and suburban mothers. Trailer parks, gay sex clubs, college campuses, and military battlefields. In this fascinating book, Frank Owen traces the spread of methamphetamine—meth—from its origins as a cold and asthma remedy to the stimulant wiring every corner of American culture.

            Meth is the latest “epidemic” to attract the attention of law enforcement and the media, but like cocaine and heroin its roots are medicinal. It was first synthesized in the late nineteenth century and applied in treatment of a wide range of ailments; by the 1940s meth had become a wonder drug, used to treat depression, hyperactivity, obesity, epilepsy, and addictions to other drugs and alcohol. Allied, Nazi, and Japanese soldiers used it throughout World War II, and the returning waves of veterans drove demand for meth into the burgeoning postwar suburbs, where it became the “mother’s helper” for a bored and lonely generation.

            But meth truly exploded in the 1960s and ’70s, when biker gang cooks using burners, beakers, and plastic tubes brought their expertise from California to the Ozarks, the Southwest, and other remote rural areas where the drug could be manufactured in kitchen labs. Since then, meth has been the target of billions of dollars in federal, state, and local anti-drug wars. Murders, violent assaults, thefts, fires, premature births, and AIDS—rises in all of these have been blamed on the drug that crosses classes and subcultures like no other.

            Acclaimed journalist Frank Owen follows the users, cooks, dealers, and law enforcers to uncover a dramatic story being played out in cities, small towns, and farm communities across America. No Speed Limit is a panoramic, high-octane investigation by a journalist who knows firsthand the powerful highs and frightening lows of meth.


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Chapter One The Rise of Nazi Dope Springfield, Missouri  Stanley Harris trundles up to meet me in an oily old truck that spits out a trail of exhaust fumes. I'm staying at a local "meth motel," one of a string of fifty-dollar-a-night establishments arranged along a neon corridor on Glenstone Avenue, on the northern edge of town. The motels are often frequented by methamphetamine manufacturers, so-called cooks, who sign in under false names and pay in cash, then go up to their rooms where they cover the door cracks with wet towels to mask the smell and then they start making
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REVIEWS

Praise for No Speed Limit

"Intensely researched, fascinating...Owen's account is refreshingly clearheaded and free of hysteria." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
At once compelling and unsettling...disturbing, haunting, memorable, and at times morbidly funny." --Kirkus Reviews

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Frank Owen

  • Frank Owen has been a journalist for fifteen years, writing for Playboy, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Newsday, The Washington Post, Spin, Details, and Vibe, among other publications. His critically acclaimed book Clubland: The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture, was published in 2003 by St. Martin's Press. He lives in New York.
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    No Speed Limit

    The Highs and Lows of Meth

    Frank Owen

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    St. Martin's Press

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