History of Human Usage

Andean Indians have been chewing on cocoa leaves for over five thousand years. When the Spanish arrived in South America they took a dim view of the practice claiming it was ungodly. However, it is because of the Spanish that cocoa leaves reached Europe.

Cocaine was first synthesized in 1855 although it was not until 1880 were its effects recognized by the medical world. Sigmund Freud promoted it as a useful tonic, although he was aware of its dangers.

The drink Coca-Cola was another famous source of cocaine. It was introduced by John Pemberton in 1886 and was made with cocaine laced syrup and caffeine. However, due to public pressure the cocaine content was dropped in 1903.

It was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 19th century but wasn't used as a drug in its purer powder form. It was first made illegal during World War I when panic spread that the German made cocaine was being sold to British troops. The London resident Chinese population were scapegoated.

By 1930, there was almost no "cocaine scene" in the United Kingdom mainly due to the wide availability of amphetamines and due to efforts to rid it out. However, since then use has been rising again. Although often considered to be a drug of the affluent, due to falling prices it is used by a wide range of people. However, it is still far more expensive compared to other stimulants such as amphetamines.

Cocaine grows on short bushes in South America. The leaves can grow up to one to three inches long. The plant is usually called the coca plant. Most people inhale it or chew it. To do this, they mix liquid from the vat, gasoline, and ammonia, and other chemicals to make it. Sometimes labs will add hydrochloric acid. The reason they do this is to make the powder for inhaling.

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