History of Cocaine Addiction

This potent drug has been around for hundreds of years: Learn more about the history of Cocaine

Cocaine is one of the most powerful drugs we know today. But, if we look a little into the history of Cocaine, we may learn some surprising facts that are not so well-known. In fact, this drug has been around for hundreds of years, with numerous uses - - and abuses.

Although we know Cocaine through its many forms today, the substance comes originally from the "coca plant", a cash-crop grown plant that is native to the mountain regions of South America.

How many people use cocaine is a rather wide term-- this is because, the history of cocaine can actually show us that, for centuries, people throughout different civilizations have used it for many different purposes, and in many different ways.

Cocaine statistics as we know today, comprise the illegal use that our society has been giving to this substance. The widespread abuse, the thousands of addiction cases, the unfortunate overdoses and deaths that can be related to the drug, etc.

All of these figures, plus the availability of treatment to address an addiction, the success rates, the relapse rates, and the aftercare plans, all take part of what we know as cocaine statistics in the language of health officials and medical experts.

But, what about before? What facts can we gather from the history of cocaine that could make an impact of how we perceive the substance?

For thousands of years, indigenous people in the Amazonian Rainforest and Andes Mountains have used coca leaves (actually chewed them) for its energetic and stimulant properties. Back as far as 3,000 B.C., cocaine was used by the ancient Incas as a way to speed up their breathing, to counteract the effects they felt from living so high up in the mountains.

They realized that, by chewing the leaf and absorbing the oil from it, it would cause their breathing to be faster and deeper, allowing them to perform better their daily tasks.

In addition, the native Peruvians would chew larger quantities of the leaves, to provoke a more powerful stimuli, during religious ceremonies. This means that, they relied on the effects of the coca plant to have visual and auditorial hallucinations during their religious acts.

It is precisely that same hallucinating effect that has caused the cocaine addiction epidemic we know today.

In the modern age, to have an idea of how many people use cocaine, we just have to look at the history of cocaine that refers to the 18th to 20th centuries. A large number of Scientists - Chemists, Physicians, Psychoanalysts - used the drug to experiment in a number of ways.

Whether it was to create a mild sedative (German Chemist Albert Nieman, 1860), to use it as a surgical anesthetic (Austrian Ophthalmologist Carl Koller, 1875), to apply it in the field of psycho-analysis (Austrian Neurologist Sigmund Freud, 1885), use it as an energy drink (American Pharmacist John S. Pemberton, 1886), or as one of the many cocaine and opium-laced "magic" elixirs, tonics and wines that characterized the early 1900s.

What all of these uses and trials have in common is, that none paid particular attention to the highly addictive properties of the drug. In fact, many of these same Scientists wrongly believed that the drug was "harmless" and could not lead to an overdose or death.

Clearly, cocaine statistics today - and the development of medicine - have proven how wrong these concepts were. Nonetheless, despite the knowledge that we have today, all the technology and the resources at our fingertips, cocaine addiction is still a severe health problem that affects millions of people around the world.

The amount of people that use cocaine today is an uncertainty. There is not an exact number, but studies, health polls, reports and cocaine statistics estimate that around 34.3 million of people had admitted to cocaine use by the end of 2015 in the U.S. alone.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with cocaine abuse or addiction, get help now. There are many high-quality treatment facilities that can help you recover and regain sobriety. Make the choice, today.

 

Sources:

https://www.tni.org/en/primer/coca-leaf-myths-and-reality%23coca

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