Cocaine and its byproduct, “crack,” derive from the coca plant. The coca plant grows in the Andes Mountains of South America and is cultivated by the mountain natives in the countries of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The natives of the Andes Mountains have chewed its leaves for nearly twelve centuries. They chew coca leaves to ward off hunger and to provide them with strength and endurance needed for survival in the rugged ...
Cocaine and its byproduct, “crack,” derive from the coca plant. The coca plant grows in the Andes Mountains of South America and is cultivated by the mountain natives in the countries of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The natives of the Andes Mountains have chewed its leaves for nearly twelve centuries. They chew coca leaves to ward off hunger and to provide them with strength and endurance needed for survival in the rugged mountain environment.
During the fifteen century, the Spanish Conquistadors invaded South America. They quickly learned about the coca plant and became fearful of its powerful influence and effect on the natives. The Spanish had nearly banned coca production before they realized its importance to slave labor. The natives would not – and could not – do the hard work demanded of them without the energy provided by coca. The Spanish allowed its continued cultivation and use by the natives.
Coca entered Europe around the time the Spanish conquered South America. Its initial introduction was to the scientific community. Early experiments with coca were disappointing and did not create much interest. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, scientists discovered that the coca plant was the source of a powerful drug. They called the drug “cocaine” and began to use it as an anesthetic and in other medical applications.
Non-medical uses for cocaine increased after acceptance by the medical community. Perhaps the most famous non-medical use was in the soft drink, Coca-Cola. Coca also was used in a variety of tonics and patent medicines.
The non-medical use of cocaine became widespread in America between the late 1800s and early 1900s. Extensive use of cocaine produced an increased criticism about the drug, its many dangers and side effects. The Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 made the non-medical use of cocaine illegal. This law gave rise to the illicit sale and use of cocaine in America that continues today.
Although the illegal sale and use of cocaine continued on a small scale for decades, it was not until the late 1960s that the demand for this drug began to increase rapidly. For the past 40 years, the use of cocaine has grown dramatically and the quantity available for sale in the United States has reached an all-time high. Likewise, the sale and use of cocaine processed into “crack” has become epidemic.
Cocaine and crack are HIGHLY ADDICTIVE and VERY DANGEROUS drugs. Their use can – and often does – result in psychological or physical problems, death or other human suffering. Despite the vast amount of information presented to the public about drugs, however, the use of cocaine and crack continues.
What is most disturbing is the use of cocaine and crack by children. Kids from elementary to high school are exposed to these dangerous drugs, too many of them using one or both at least once. Many of these young people are either unaware of or indifferent to the harm these drugs can cause them or others. These drugs are SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS, and people of all ages should avoid them.