History of Cocaine
Cocaine is a drug that has a long and varied history in both South and North America. Categorized as a stimulant, it is both a popular and highly addictive substance. The negative impact of cocaine use has led many to seek addiction counseling and rehabilitation. But although it is commonly associated with illicit use, that has not always been the case. The history of cocaine has seen it used in many different forms and for many different purposes. Within its history, cocaine was even considered a useful remedy.
Cocaine originates from the coca plant, which is found in various locations around the world, but it is most commonly associated with South America. The history of cocaine goes back as far as 3000 B.C., when the indigenous people of South America regularly chewed coca leaves. By chewing these leaves, they were able to reduce hunger and fatigue and increase their stamina, and they also used coca leaves for other medicinal and religious purposes. In the late 1500s, Europeans were introduced to coca by way of the Spanish, who discovered it on their arrival in South America.
In 1859, the cocaine in coca leaves was isolated by Albert Neimann, a German chemist. In the 1880s, cocaine was put to use for medicinal purposes. Sigmund Freud, for example, believed that cocaine could be used to help cure conditions such as depression and addiction to morphine. Freud also spoke of cocaine's anesthetic properties. Cocaine and coca leaves were also used for a number of remedies such as toothache drops. Coca leaves and cocaine were used in Vin Mariani, a medicinal wine, and the leaves also were a key ingredient in the original recipe for Coca-Cola, providing more energy and a sense of euphoria.
During this time in cocaine history, it became available in nasal sprays and ointments, and there was also an increase in its recreational use. This and the subsequent rise in addiction raised health and public concerns. As a result, it was removed from the Coca-Cola recipe in 1903, and use of the drug was severely restricted courtesy of the Harrison Act in 1914 and the Jones-Miller Act in 1922. Cocaine abuse went into a steep decline until the 1970s, when its use increased once again. Snorting cocaine became a popular choice for professionals, entertainers, and the upper class. While snorting cocaine was the common method of use, dealers sought a way to sell it more cheaply and to more users. As a result, crack cocaine was created in the 1980s. The creation of crack is an important part of cocaine history, as it resulted in a rapid rise in the number of cocaine addicts, which peaked between the mid-1980s and the 1990s.
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