was a variant of amphetamine
marketed under this brand in the USA
by Smith, Kline and French
as inhaler containers from 1928
forth. Benzedrine was used to enlarge nasal and bronchial passages. It is closely related to the substance named Ritalin® (methylphenidate
As a side effect, physicians discovered that the amphetamine part of Benzedrine could help in treating for example narcolepsy. This led to Benzedrine being produced in tablet form as a stimulant.
Even though this drug was supposed to be inhaled, many people cracked the containers open and swallowed the paper drenched in Benzedrine that was contained inside, often with coffee or alcohol.
In the 1940s and 1950s reports began to emerge about the abuse of Benzedrine containers, and in 1949, doctors began to move patients from Benzedrine to the weaker stimulant propylhexedrine. In 1959, the FDA made it a prescription drug in the United States.
This drug was very popular with beatniks and figure a lot in the literature and biographies of William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.