Cocaine is derived from coca, a plant native to parts of South America. It is likely that people have chewed its leaves from time immemorial for its stimulative effects. Today, the illegal trafficking of cocaine is a multibillion dollar business. Cocaine addiction doesn’t discriminate: it is a problem throughout the world impacting the lives of many millions of people. Fortunately, for those in the grips of this disease cocaine addiction treatment is available.
Pure cocaine was first isolated during the mid-nineteenth century. It became especially popular in Europe, in part because of the enthusiastic endorsement by Sigmund Freud. (Ironically, in 1885 he published a paper arguing that cocaine could be used to cure morphine and alcohol addiction.) But Freud was not alone in believing that cocaine could cure a host of both physical and psychological maladies. Later in the century, cocaine became popular in America. It became the active ingredient in what were called “health tonics” that were marketed for their supposed benefits. The most famous of these was Coca Cola, which first appeared in 1886.
As cocaine consumption increased so did instances of cocaine addiction – with an estimated 200,000 cases in 1902. The United States finally outlawed cocaine in 1914 with the passage of the Harrison Narcotic Act. There was a resurgence in the popularity of cocaine in the 1970s as a recreational drug. It was considered to be chic and erroneously touted as being non-addictive. Usage became extremely widespread during the 1980s which is when crack cocaine first appeared. Crack is an especially potent and addictive form of cocaine made by cooking it with water and other ingredients until it forms rocks which can then be smoked. Because crack is inexpensive addiction, the problem became still more widespread. Cocaine can be particularly dangerous when used with other drugs such as alcohol. Some people mix heroin with cocaine to make an extremely dangerous concoction called a speedball.
Cocaine can be snorted, rubbed onto the gums as a powder, smoked or dissolved then injected. Street names for cocaine include blow, coke, crack, rock, snow, C and flake.