Cocaine History

Cocaine History

The history of cocaine was originally chronicled as being helpful in the area of medical and local anesthesia. It’s common knowledge that coca leaves were used as a cure-all anesthetic throughout history of the Incan Empire of Peru. The coca plant was originally found in South America, where natives would chew on the leaves as a mild stimulus similar to the effects of coffee. Characteristics of the plant involved providing many essential nutrients, proteins and vitamins, therefore making it quite possibly a survival need for many people then. It was primarily grown in the Andes where it is difficult to grow nutritious plants and where the extra energy boost and pain relieving qualities came in handy due to the high altitudes.

It was both a stimulant and suppressant providing the euphoric sensation of happiness and energy. However, chewing the leaves produces no “high.” Cocaine was first extracted from the coca plant in the 1880s and deemed a miracle drug. Coca plant leaves are a crystalline tropane alkaloid, combined with the alkaloid suffix “-ine”- make up one of the most powerful drugs of our time: cocaine. The alkaloid was first scientifically isolated from the coca plant in 1860 by Albert Neiman when it received its name, cocaine.

Cocaine’s Early Usages

In Europe, however, its medical usefulness was not fully recognized until Carl Koller used it to anesthetize the cornea of the eye. Over the next 20 years it became a popular medicine and tonic in Europe and America curing a wide variety of diseases and illnesses. It was believed to help heal ailments such as asthma, ulcers, malaria and indigestion, as well as an aphrodisiac and improve longevity. In some places it was becoming more and more available in the form of powder and was recommended to recovering alcoholics, mixed into drinks like Coca-Cola and wine, also and found inside cigarettes. It was coined the “miracle drug,” as characters like Sherlock Holmes glorified its use. In 1903, however, Coca-Cola stopped using coca leaves in their product as they discovered the adverse reactions on the brain (see ways to take cocaine).

Cocaine Becomes Illegal

However, reports soon started to appear that claimed cocaine was a drug with a high social abuse potential and in America it seemed to strengthen growing crime figures. As a result, cocaine was classified as a narcotic and its use was restricted to specific surgical procedures and medicinal preparations. After users and physicians began to realize its dangers, various regulations were enacted, its use decreased, and by the 1920s the epidemic had subsided. It was actually in 1914 that cocaine came under control in the United States through the Harrison Narcotic Act which regulated the distribution of coca, and specifically addressing cocaine, even though cocaine is not a narcotic. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act officially made cocaine illegal in the United States.

During this time, coca was being commercially grown world-wide in places such as Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan, but even to this day coca grown for cocaine is mostly produced from underground labs in South American countries where it has become a major source of income since the 1980s.

Cocaine Use in America

Another epidemic began in the United States in the 1970s and peaked in the mid-1980s; again the drug was at first considered harmless. With the latter epidemic and its accompanying crack epidemic, violence in crack-infested neighborhoods increased dramatically. Young people with few other opportunities were lured by the power and money of being crack dealers; most carried guns and many were murdered in the drug-gang wars that ensued. By the late 1990s the cocaine and crack epidemic had subsided as heroin regained popularity among illicit drug users.

Today, cocaine and its derivatives are still popular local anesthetics in operations of the ear, nose and throat and it is also used in a preparation given to alleviate the pain (physical and mental) of terminal diseases. Although cocaine has a high public profile as a drug of addictive potential, this drug has also had a long and distinguished history as a medicine and local anesthetic. The legitimate uses of cocaine exacerbate the problems of controlling this substance of abuse and should provide a stimulus for generating local anesthetics that lack addictive potential.

If you or someone you know needs help with an addiction and needs cocaine rehab treatment, we are here to help. Please call our toll free number at (866) 872-6495. We are here to answer your questions on cocaine treatment and recovery.

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