Benzedrine is the trade name of the racemic mixture of amphetamine (dl-amphetamine). The drug was often referred to as "bennies" by users and in literature. It was marketed under this brand name in the USA by Smith, Kline and French in the form of inhalers, starting in 1933. Benzedrine was used to enlarge nasal and bronchial passages, and it is closely related to other stimulants produced later, such as dextroamphetamine (d-amphetamine) and methamphetamine. Benzedrine should not be confused with the different substance benzphetamine.
While the drug was initially used for medical purposes, as a bronchodilator, early users of the Benzedrine inhaler discovered it had a euphoric stimulant effect, resulting in its being one of the earliest synthetic stimulants to be widely used for recreational (i.e., nonmedical) purposes. Even though this drug was intended for inhalation, some people used Benzedrine recreationally by cracking the container open and swallowing the paper strip inside, which was covered in Benzedrine. The strips were often rolled into small balls and swallowed, or taken with coffee or alcohol. Because of the stimulant side effect, physicians discovered amphetamine could also be used to treat narcolepsy. This led to the production of Benzedrine in tablet form. Benzedrine was also used by doctors to perk up lethargic patients before breakfast.
In 1937, the effects of Benzedrine, and thus stimulant use, was studied in children with behavior and neurological disorders.
In the 1940s and 1950s, reports began to emerge about the recreational use of Benzedrine inhalers, and in 1949, doctors began to move away from prescribing Benzedrine as a bronchodilator and appetite suppressant. In 1959, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made it a prescription drug. Benzedrine and derived amphetamines were used as a stimulant for armed forces in World War II and Vietnam. When amphetamine became a controlled substance, it was replaced by propylhexedrine (also known as hexahydromethamphetamine). Propylhexedrine was also manufactured by Smith, Kline and French and was marketed under the name Benzedrex. The Benzedrex inhaler is still available today, but is no longer manufactured by Smith, Kline and French (currently GlaxoSmithKline). Benzedrex is now manufactured by B.F. Ascher & Co, Inc.
See also 
- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/benzedrine. Missing or empty
- Cullen, Pamela V. A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams, London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9. Suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams was using it thus in the 1950s.
- Bradley, Charles (November 1937). "THE BEHAVIOR OF CHILDREN RECEIVING BENZEDRINE". American Psychiatric Association: 577–585. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.94.3.577.