In the year 1859, it was in the early times when this drug was discovered from cocoa leaves. Founded by a famous German chemist named Nieman who made this discovery. But it took further 20 years for it to come into common use among the medical experts. Usage of Cocaine got very common in society and the risks of using this drug steadily became more apparent. Due to the immense public pressure, in 1903 the manufacturers of the Coca-Cola drink were forced to eradicate the cocaine from its recipe (Paul).
Cocaine sniffing had become very common by 1905 and within a few years, several health care units and the medical record started to report cases of nasal injuries that resulted from the usage of cocaine.
By 1912, the government of the United States had stated over 5,000 deaths that very directly associated with cocaine in a single calendar year, and in the year 1922, this drug got legitimately prohibited.
It was during the 1970s that cocaine came into surface again and this time as a trendy new drug for youth, people from showbiz, and big businessmen. It was believed that Cocaine was the ideal friend for an expedition into the speedy track. It gave an extra boost and energy. According to several universities within the US, the ratio of students who used cocaine had increased remarkably in the 1980s as compared to the 70s.
It was during the 1970s when Colombian drug mafia started to set up a sophisticated system to smuggle cocaine into the US (Steven).
By tradition, cocaine used to be a wealthy people’s drug and the reason being heavy costs of using this drug. But the late 1980s proved to be all together with a different story, this drug was no longer believed to be a drug to be an option for the rich only. In fact, by that time it had become one of America’s most hazardous and addictive drugs, increasing crime rates, hunger, and even deaths all over the United States. By the 1990s, 500 to 1000 tons of cocaine was smuggled into the US every year, not just to the US but also to Europe and Asia. The bigger drug lords were taken to pieces by anti-narcotics and other agencies during several operations in the mid-1990s. The position of these cartels was eventually swapped by smaller factions.
The successful usage of cocaine in medication
Austrian psychotherapist Sigmund Freud introduced this drug as a stimulant to treat mental illness and sex-related disabilities; he called it” magical stuff”. In the mid 80’s this drug gain immense importance during the eye operations which was discovered by Dr. Koller. Cocaine could stimulate the eye and it also helped in limiting the inflammation since it could tighten up the veins. This progress also became a reason why the usage of cocaine gained popularity in the field of medicine (Paul).
Medical experts all around the world immediately comprehended that cocaine was functional for anesthetizing not just the eyes but other parts of the body as well– it can also be used to numb the throat and nose as well during treatment or other surgical procedures. In this day and age, it all seems weird but these practices were medically useful – even today cocaine is used as a curable medicine for treating sinus measures.
By the start of the Early ’20s cocaine was referred to as a magical drug that could heal any illness. It was commonly used to relax the muscles and nerves; it was also used to improve the digestive system, to treat hemorrhoids, and to boost the energy.
Because it might be some more years to be passed until and unless the threat of the drug was acknowledged adequately to formulate it as a prohibited substance.
The consequences of using cocaine in medication
Freud’s regular prescriptions of cocaine lead to the death of one of his patients and in one particular case a patient ended up suffering from paranoid hallucinations with “snakes wrapped all around his body”.
In another such incident, cocaine’s addiction and physical harm started to get obvious. A young New York surgeon William Halsted started to examine the effects of this drug in surgical trials. He experienced the effect of cocaine by inserting it into his own body and also injecting it into the limbs of his friends and other participants. As a result, Halsted rapidly became a cocaine addict, unable to function, and would never practice medicine again.
Gootenberg, Paul, ed. Cocaine: global histories. Routledge, 2002.
Karch, Steven B. A brief history of cocaine. CRC Press, 2005.
Gootenberg, Paul. “The Rise and Demise of Coca and Cocaine: as Licit Global ‘Commodity Chains’, 1860–1950.” paper for the Conference on “Latin America and Global Trade”, Social Science History Institute, Stanford University. 2001.