Cocaine abuse in North America:
a milestone in history

Das G
Division of Cardiology,
University of North Dakota School of Medicine,
J Clin Pharmacol 1993 Apr; 33(4):296-310


The euphoric effects of coca leaves have been known to mankind for thousands of years. Yet the first epidemic of cocaine use in America occurred during the late 19th century. Initially, there were no laws restricting the consumption or sale of cocaine. In fact, cocaine was freely available in drug stores, saloons, from mail-order vendors, and even in grocery stores. It is reported that one drug manufacturer, in 1885, was selling cocaine in 15 different forms, including cigarettes, cheroots, inhalants, cordials, crystals, and solutions. Many famous imported wines, such as "Vin Mariani," contained a mixture of wine and coca. For consumers on budgets, the wonder drug was available as Coca-Cola and dozens of other soda pops and pick-me-up drinks. One of them even had a simple and direct name, Dope. Soon enough, the ill effects of cocaine became apparent, and by the 1920s cocaine was the most feared of all illicit drugs. Most states began enacting laws against cocaine use. President William Taft proclaimed cocaine as Public Enemy No. 1, and in 1914 the Congress passed the Harrison act, which tightly regulated the distribution and sale of cocaine. By the late 1950s, cocaine use in the United States was simply considered a problem in the past. Unfortunately, the people who were aware of the nation's first cocaine epidemic gradually passed away, and America once again was ready for its fling with cocaine in the 1960s. Today, it is estimated that upwards of 50 million Americans, that is one in four, have used cocaine. In addition, another fifty thousand people use this substance for the first time each day. More than 6 million Americans use cocaine on a regular basis. Little wonder, then, that America as well as the other countries have declared a "War on Drugs." In this review, pharmacology of cocaine, major complications arising from its use, and efforts to curb its abuse are discussed.

Coca cola
Cocaine hotspots
Dopaminergic flies?
Dopaminergic agents
The coke-craving brain
Cocaine and Sigmund Freud
Coca consumption in history
Monoamines, cocaine and rats
Freebasing flies go hyperkinetic

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