Cocaine use, even a single experiment, can cost a person their life. It can cause sudden heart irregularities, convulsions, and heart attacks in otherwise young people. This addicting drug originated in the slopes of the Andes from a plant called the coca plant. Cocaine delivers a feeling of power and control better than any drug.
Cocaine comes from a plant called the coca plant. It is grown now in Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia where it is refined and sent to the US 1300 years ago the leaves were being chewed by South American Indians. “Indians routinely chewed quids of coca leaves to stave off hunger, help them endure cold, and enable them to work longer and harder with little food or rest”(Stone 7). Several coca leaves are stuffed into the side of the mouth against the cheek and chewed until a moist liquid forms. This method is still used amongst the population of Peru for the long-lasting effects. Mood elevation, mild stimulation, reduced appetite, and increased physical endurance, are some effects that are experienced by chewing the leaves. In the mid-1800s, physicians became interested in the drugs medicinal potential.
Albert Nieman, a Viennese physician, was given credit for finally isolating the active substance from the leaves. The material that he named and produced was the same white, crystalline, odorless powder, cocaine hydrochloride, as that in use today. Doctors in the US and Europe began experimenting with the new drug by dissolving it in water and taken by the teaspoon. Since there was no FDA in those days, and as long as the drug appeared to be safe, doctors freely prescribed it to patients. Sigmund Freud began his famous experiment in early 1884, using himself and several close physician associates as subjects. “He published a paper lauding the drug’s exhilarating and euphoric effect, and recommended it for medicinal use to alleviate depression, fatigue, and nausea” (Youcha and Seixas 18). Cocaine was then suggested by Sigmund Freud “to be useful as a local anesthetic because it numbered the tissues to which it was applied” (Youcha and Seixas 19). Cocaine then began to be useful in eye surgery, dentistry and other kings of surgery. Physicians that prescribed this drug to treat headaches, nausea, a common cold, noticed the patients often rapidly developed a dependency on it. By the end of the 1880s Freud and the others he worked with withdrew their support of it and in return increasing reports of dependency and abuse. “In 1970, cocaine was classified under Schedule II, s a drug with a legitimate medical use, but also with high potential for abuse and a strong tendency to lead to physical or psychological dependence” (Nahas 87). Most of the cocaine sold and consumed in the United States today is cocaine hydrochloride.
The cocaine bought and sold outside the medical channels is rarely close to pure. A kilo (2.2 pounds) of raw cocaine paste may sell to a Colombian processor for $350, and after it is refined and smuggled in the United States, the same kilo is $10,000. That kilo for $10,000 could then be spilt into two kilos, stretched with additives and sell each for $30,000. The most common substances used to stretch cocaine are lactose, bonita, caffeine, procaine or lidocaine. “The cocaine high offers a short, sweet taste of how we think it must feel to succeed at the American dream in which so many of us believe” (Nahas 23). The drug interrupts the normal action of chemicals called neurotransmitters, also known as brain messengers.
“Its action on the brain results in a marked increase in heart rate, measurable elevation in blood pressure, and constriction of blood vessels” (Stone 26). Cocaine also increases the rate of breathing and raises the temperature. Cocaine delivers its high by disturbing the most potentially significant chemical cycles in the brain-those that control our basic state of being. The intoxication of the cocaine high is variable, depending on the general psychological and emotional condition the person using the drug. The emotional texture, the sense of fulfillment, gratification, or happiness, the value of the high is determined by the experience of the user. The enjoyable part of a cocaine high generally lasts from ten minutes to half an hour, depending on the dosage and how the drug is ingested. When the