America’s Insatiable Appetite for Cocaine

Powerful Essays
America’s Insatiable Appetite for Cocaine

Where does Coca-Cola get its name? Why was it created? In 1886, the Georgia pharmacist, John Pemberton, designed Coca-Cola as a headache remedy and a stimulant. The original beverage contained cocaine and was used both as an intoxicating beverage and a medically useful tonic. The effects of the drink helped make it popular. Only in the early twentieth century was the drug eliminated from the Coca-Cola recipe and replaced with increased amounts of caffeine.[1]

Cocaine has a long history which also involves the once condoned use for medicinal purposes in the 1890's to being one of the most widespread abused drug today. Cocaine was the first effective local anesthetic for use in minor surgery. Before being used in medicine, the Inca civilization of Peru confined the use of coca to the royal classes and priesthood because the leaves were considered a symbol of divinity, a gift bestowed by the sun god. They clearly appreciated its pharmacological effects: deflecting fatigue and hunger, enhancing endurance, and promoting a sense of happiness.[1] Other civilizations gave cocaine to their slaves and workers instead of food and rest. "There is ample evidence that Indians under the influence of coca can withstand exceptional hardships and perform heavy labor, without requiring proper nourishment during that time....[By] using coca the Indians are able to travel on foot for hundreds of hours and run faster than horses without showing signs of fatigue."[11] What is cocaine? How does cocaine increase alertness and decrease one's appetite? It is all in the head, more accurately, in the brain.

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant Erythroxylon coca in a white crystalline alkaloid powder. ...

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5. Holden, Constance. "Cocaine Shrinks Your Brain?" Science. 248: April 1990, p. 167.

6. Cowen, Ron. "Cocaine and the Nervous System." Science News. 137: April 1990, p. 238.

7. Mendelson, Jack H., M.d. et al. "Anterior, Adrenal, and Gonadal Hormones During Cocaine Withdrawal." The American Journal of Psychiatry. 145: September 1988, p. 1095.

8. Volkow, Nora D., M.D. et al. "Changes in Brain Glucose Metabolism in Cocaine Dependence and Withdrawal." The American Journal of Psychiatry. 148: May 1991, p. 621.

9. Satel, Sally L., M.D. et al. "Clinical Phenomenology and Neurobiology of Cocaine Abstinence: A Prospective Inpatient Study." The American Journal of Psychiatry. 148: December 1991. P. 1713.

10. Gawin, Frank H. "Cocaine Addiction: Psychology and Neurophysiology." Science. 251: March 1991. P. 1580.

11. Freud, Sigmund. "Uber Coca." July 1884.