One of the most widely used illegal drugs in the United States is cocaine, and like many other drugs, it comes from a plant that has been used for thousands of years in other parts of the world. Cocaine comes from the coca leaf, a plant that has a long history in spiritual rituals.
Coca and Andean Indians
It used to be that in the Andean Indian culture, the coca plant was linked to a sacred goddess. These cultures believed that they had to please the coca goddess in order to have a successful harvest. The leaves of the coca plant were chewed or smoked to help these natives connect with spiritual beings, as well as provide magical protection and powers.
Traditionally, coca leaves were chewed only by the leaders or royalty. Over time, however, even lower classes were encouraged to chew the leaves to experience the benefits. When the Spanish invaded the Incas land, they tried to outlaw the chewing of coca leaves. But it soon became apparent that the Incas worked better when they were given leaves to chew. Coca leaves give the user a boost of energy, as well as prevents hunger. Mood stabilizes and stamina also increases in those that chew coca leaves.
First use of cocaine
Cocaine was first extracted from the coca plant in the 1860s. At first it seemed to be a miracle drug that was useful in treating depression and morphine addiction, and it was prescribed by many physicians for various reasons. However, it became evident that there were some serious problems with using cocaine, and it decreased naturally in popularity by the 1920s.
It was still being produced heavily in South America and other areas though, and cocaine made a comeback to the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. At that time, it was illegal, yet in great demand. The cost for cocaine was high, and violence became connected to the use and selling of cocaine. Areas of cities that had many drug dealers became dangerous because of the guns and violence they brought with them.
Cocaine has had a rocky history in the United States. There has been much controversy about the connection between the United States government and cocaine dealers. There have been articles and books written about the CIA working with cocaine dealers to help win the war on communism. Others argue that the aggressive role the U.S. government played in banning the drug actually led to the smuggling of it into our country.
Cocaine is still being used illegally in our country by many today. Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system, which increases heart rate and blood pressure. The user feels a high and a feeling of satisfaction and energy. Cocaine causes the user to disregard everything else besides the drug, leading to addiction. For those dealing with cocaine addiction, the best help is most likely a treatment facility that offers detox, as well as long term residential care.
This article was written by Leah Miranda
Leah joined American Addiction Centers in 2012 and currently holds the position of Events and Social Media Manager. After earning her Bachelor's degree in history, with a minor in teaching, she began her career in the higher education system. Her passion for connecting with people soon led her the field of marketing and social media where she is able to communicate with and inspire others daily. Connect with Leah on Google+