Cocaine

"I like lo think of cocaine as the thinking man's Dristan."

Wavy Gravy

The coca leaf and ihe cocaine it contains are necessities of life lo the Indians of ihe Andes region. For us in North America, on the other hand, cocaine ranks somewhere between mink coats and gold-plated bathroom fixtures on the survival scale. And like all sucli items il is a creature of fashion. Less than ten years ago no one whose livelihood depended on the good will of the public could afford to be labeled a coke user. Cocaine's reputation was so bad thai a sympathetic fictional character who was also a cokehead was a contradiction in terms. In the 1969 Easy Rider for example, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper finance their escape from the workaday world by selling a load of cocaine lo a Rolls Royce-owning Angeleno, bui after ihe single tasie wliicli leis us know it is coke they are buying from the Mexican connection, they never snorl a line of the stuff. Though they smoke a lot of dope and drop acid, for ihem cocaine is the drug of the decadent rich, nol one righteous folks would louch. Audiences saw nothing odd aboni this value judgment, nor did the critics. In ihe logic of ihe film, involvement with coke, even as a means lo an end, is a fall from grace. Near the end of the story, wlien Fonda remarks, "We blew il," one of the negative moves included in his judgment is the coke sale.

But fashions change. If Easy Rider came around today, the same audiences thai made it a bigger grosser ihan Lawrence of Arabia would find its moralistic attitude toward cocaine decidedly strange. The drug's image is simply not what it was in 1969. Then linked as inextricably to heroin as Nixon was lo Kissinger, it is now the affluent business, and professional classes" drug of choice. Most of these people didn't begin to smoke grass »mil aboni 1970, and ihey are as far removed from the would of lieroin as they are from the age of acid. They've taken to cocaine not because it's a wild or heavy high, but because i('s a safe and relatively mild one.

As short a time ago as 1972, ihe cocaine-is-lo-heroin-as-rliythm-is-to-bl»es tune was comfortably ensconced at the lop of the antidrug charts. By 1975 government cocaine researchers were slating the obvious: that cocaine is no more like heroin than sail is like sugar. And by 1977 they were admitting thai few if any problems seemed to be associated wilh the moderate use of cocaine. When the power elite lakes up a drug, officialdom begins marching lo a different drummer.

Nolhing belter illustrates ihe new attitude toward cocaine than Louise Lasser's 1976 cocaine bus!.. Had it happened a few years earlier, local stations would have been flooded with outraged callers demanding her removal, sponsors would have immediately cancelled their commitments, and "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" would have passed into history. As il was, Ms. Lasser didn't miss a performance. Her arrest was treated as a hit of bad luck, something that might have happened to any media person in the coke capital of America. Television executives, normally as uptight a crew as can be found, implied that it was a ease of much ado about nothing. Why should the police go round harassing nice people over a little cocaine? Why, indeed,

Cocaine acts chiefly on the brain. When injected intravenously it enters the bloodstream very quickly. When snorted, the most common method of administration, it must pass through the mucous membranes of the nose to reach the bloodstream and gets there much more slowly. Swallowing postpones the drug action even longer. Smoking brings it on more quickly than snorting, but much less quickly than injection.

The most striking clinical effect of cocaine is anesthesia when applied locally to the eye, the interior of the nose, the gums, and other mucous membranes. The most striking general efleet is stimulation of the central nervous system. Cocaine's stimulant effect closely mimics the natural stress response of the body. Heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the release of blood sugars are all increased. And cocaine apparently increases muscular strength-just as it is increased by the release of adrenaline in a stress situation.

Anesthesia Snorted

"The C-charged brain is a berserk pinball machine, flashing blue and pink liglils in electric orgasm."

William Burroughs Naked Lunch, 1959

Almost all users report thai when snorted, cocaine dries up the mucous membranes of the nose. This brings initial relief lo cold and sinusitis sufferers; but repeated doses usually result, in blocked nasal passages, and heavy chronic use in permanent innny noses. Cocaine also seems lo be a natural laxative and diuretic.

Unlike opiates, cocaine does not produce tolerance or physical dependence in the user. Tolerance occurs when dosage musi be increased to achieve a consistent effect: physical dependence is indicated by withdrawal symptoms such as physical discomfort1 or swealing when drug use is stopped.

But there are limits to the amount of cocaine an individual can ingest.. Cold perspiration, excessive sweating, pallor and a feeling of heaviness in the limbs are signals that ihis limit has been exceeded. In such cases the liver is receiving more cocaine than it can deloxify. The lethal dose is said to be 1.2 grams, and some 40 deaths have been recorded since the 1890s. Most occurred in medical settings after the application of very large single doses (from 300 to 800 milligrams). No deaths from the social use of cocaine have been verified since the Twenti-es, ihough a handful have been reported during the past couple of years. And few if any severe adverse reaclions have resulted from the frequent small doses (20 to 30 milligrams every '40 to 60 minutes or so) thai are the norm for current social users. Severe reactions lo small doses are possible in those rare cases where ihe user is allergic lo cocaine.

The most common adverse physical reaction to cocaine is a lender nose. Cocaine particles lodging in ihe hair follicles of the nose can cause irritation, sores and bleedings. Ignoring these signs and continuing lo snort cocaine may lead to a perforated septum. Bul only minimal precautions-refraining from gross overindulgence, chopping the cocaine into fine powder and occasionally rinsing out the nose-are required to prevent this unpleasant consequence. Fabled coke-perforated septums are hard lo document. .

As for cocaine's psychoactive effecls, most users agree that it produces euphoria, increased energy, sexual stimulation, mental lucidity, and a lessening of faljgue and appetile. The notable effecls of a moderate dose persist some 30 minutes

THE KOGI PARADISE "... the Kogi say thai coca appeases hunger-accord-ing to them, however, this never is the object of consuming coca but only an agreeable consequence, seeing that during the ceremonies or ceremonial conversations the consumption of food is prohibited and the assistants (attendants) ought to fast Another effect which is attributed to the coca is insomnia. Here again the Kogi see an advantage, since the ceremonial conversations should be carried on ai night and individuals who can speak and sing for one or several nights withoul sleep merit high prestige. The Kogi ideal would be to never eat anything besides coca, to abstain totally from sex, to never sleep and to speak all.of his life of the "Ancients,", that is to say, to sing, to dance and lo recite."

Richard Martin 'The Role of Coca in the History, Religion and Medicine of South American Indians,"' 1070

or so and can be fell in diminished form for up to two hours. In general, ihe larger the dose, the more pronounced the effects. But large chronic doses frequently result, in adverse effecls: euphoria is replaced by anxiety, lucidity by confusion, wakefulness by insomnia, and sexual stimulation by impotency.

None of these effecls is experienced with the same intensity by aU people. Reactions lo cocaine vary from individual lo individual. . And some users are more turned on by certain effects than by others. Some stress ihe happy feelings, some the sexual stimulation, while others are mosi impressed by ihe increased energy or the lessening of fatigue.

Most current authorities insist thai cocaine is a dependency-producing drug because (1) withdrawal precipilales a severe psychological depression that can be relieved only by more cocaine, and (2) the user develops a craving for cocaine. Although ihe literature- on cocaine is filled with such assertions, the facts do not support lhem. Users report neither depression nor1 craving, and no modern investigator has been able to document such experiences. None of ihe more than 80 users I have interviewed and observed experienced any particular discomfort1 when their supply ran out beyond whai anyone feels when something they like is no longer available. Some users exhibit a degree of compulsion to resume use, but ihis doesn't stem from a need to relieve depression. Rather, cocaine being iheir drug of choice, they try to have il whenever they can, finances permuting.

The Indians of the Andes provide further evidence that cocaine doesn't lead lo dependency. Coca, of course, is not cocaine, bul there are approximately five to six grains of cocaine in ihe

THE SACRED LEAF "By (lie Peruvian Indians (lie coca plant is regarded as something sacred and mysterious, and il sustained an impoilant part in «lie religion of llie Incas. In all ceremonies, whether religious or warlike. it was introduced, for producing smoke at llie great offerings, or as the sacrific'e itselfc. During divine worship (lie priests chewed coca leaves, and unless they were supplied with diem, it was believed that die favour. ■ of llie gods could not be propitiated. It. was also deemed necessary that llie supplicalor for divine grace should approach die priests with an Acullicp in liis mouth. U was believed thai any business undertaken without the benedict ion of coca leaves could not prosper; and lo llie shrub itself, worship was rendered. During an interval of more than 300 years Cluistianity . has not been able to subdue llie deep-rooled idolatry; for everywhere we find traces of belief in the mysterious power of this plant. . The excavators in the mines of Ceiro de Pasco throw masticated coca on hard veins of metal, in die belief that it softens the are and renders it more easy to work. . The origin of this custom is easily explained, when il is recollected that in llie lime of llie Incas it was believed lhat llie Coyas, or the deities of metals, rendered (lie mountains impenetrable if they were not propitiated by. llie odour of coca. The Indians, even at (lie present lime, put coca leaves into the mouths of dead persons, to secure to them a favourable inception on dieir entrance into another work), and when a Peinvian Indian on a journey falls in with a mummy, he, widi timid reverence, presents to it some coca leaves as his pious offering."

Johann Jakob von Tschudi Tuivnis in Peru During the Years 1838-1842

two ounces of leaves consumed every day by the typical Indian. That is, something more than a third of a gram-a good-sized regular dosage by any standard. Most American consumers rarely lake more lhan ihis in a single day, and then usually only a few days a month. But the Indians don't appear to suffer any great hardship when circumstances deprive them of coca. Those drafted into the Peruvian Army (which doesn't permit coca chewing) and lhose forced inlo ihe cities (where il isn't available) to seek employment simply do wilhoul ihe drug ihey have used all their lives.

Odd views concerning ihe effects of cocaine have been commonplace for at least five centuries. The Spanish conquistadores attributed the great feats of endurance petformed by the coca-chewing Indians of ihe Andes to a pact ihey had with the DeviL, Or as Pedro Cieza de Leon put it in his sixteenth-century. Chro'nico del Peru, "the old men of every tribe actually conversed with the archenemy of wan kind." Chats with Lucifer being considered hazardous to the soul's health, the

Spanish initially prohibited ihe use of coca. But since the principal object of the Spanish was thai of any imperial power, to lake whai il could from ihe land and ihe people, the prohibition didn'l last very long. The Inca gold mines were at very high altitudes, and wilhoul coca the miners didn'l produce much. So a compromise was soon reached between the politicians and the churchmen: the Indians got their coca, and one-lenlh of the annual coca crop was set aside for the benefit of the clergy.

The leaves which supported ihe Church in comfort and whose most notorious product is cocaine are from Ery/hroxylon coca, a flowering plant indigenous to the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains. It flourishes along the entire

Spanish view of Indian coca use, ca. 1560

INCAN COCA PROPHESY "As the meftl important veget al effering, coca was sacrificed at virtually al 1 reHgioue feftivala, the Waves feeing thrown to the tour cardinal point« cr burnt upon the ftharH. Coca was afcn freqiienlly uaed for purpuaea of divination: the Incas IwlievcJ in con»wtfi;:g supernatural powers before undertaking any important action. Frequently diviners would chew cpoti leaves end spit the juice into their palms with the two longest fingers extended: if the juice ran ■ dawn both fingers equally, the augury wet good; if unequally, it was bad. Other diviners would burn ooea leaves with llama fat and watch the way in which they burned."

RichoH T. Martin

"ThiRok ef Coca In ihi History. Reiigion and Mcdicinc of South American Indiuns." 197U

curve of the Andes, from the Straits of Magellan to the borders of the Caribbean Sea, at elevations of from 1,500 to 6,000 feet.. Wild coca reaches heights of 15 feet, but the cultivated plants are kept at 3 to 6 feet to facilitate picking. Cultivation is carried on in small, teiTaced clearings of usually no more than two or three acres. About 7,000 plants thrive on one acre, and the main harvest in March yields about four ounces of leaves per plant., The fall harvest yields less, and that in June is usually quite sparse. The picked leaves are spread out to dry in layers two to three inches deep. If the weather is good, the drying can be completed in six hoars. The leaves are then gathered into large heaps and left to ''sweat'1 for three days or so. This process transforms the crisp, dried leaves into the soft, pliable state necessary for proper chewing. The leaves are then spread out in the sun once again for a half hour and packed for shipment. .

Peru and Bolivia, the heart of the coca region, produce some 11.5 million kilograms of coca per year. Ninety percent of this is chewed by the local Indians; the remainder is exported as refined cocaine, crude cocaine, and leaves. There are many varieties of coca, but the most-used strains are Bolivian, or Huanico coca, and Peruvian, or Truxillo coca. The total alkaloid content of the coca leaf ranges from 0.7 to 1.5 percent, cocaine constituting 30 to 75 percent of the total.. The Bolivian variety contains a higher percentage of cocaine, and the Peruvian a higher percentage of the associated alkaloids. Manufacturers of legal cocaine depend almost entirely on the former, but coca chewers show a preference for the latler-lhey say it tastes better.

The discovery of mummy bundles containing sacks of coca leaves and implements for using coca indicates that the Indians of the region have been taking the pause that refreshes for at least 3,000 years. No one knows precisely how many Indians are still using it, but the most common estimate is 90 percent.. They begin daily use in their teens and continue on into old age, some using less and some more than the two ounces that most observers agree to be the average daily intake. The coquero, as a coca user is called, moistens a wad of leaves with saliva and places it between cheek and gum. A little lime-the ashes of a cereal, qninoa; or a powder made from crushed seashells-is then added to the wad. The lime facilitates the extraction of the cocaine and associated alkaloids from the coca and hastens their absorption into the bloodstream. The coquero doesn't swallow the leaves, he sucks and works on the quid as one does on a chaw of tobacco and discards it when all the juices have been extracted. This usually takes about 45 minutes. Some of the juices are absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth and some trickle down the throat into the stomach.

According to Indian legend, Manco Capac-the divine son of the Sun-gave them coca to ease their stay on earth. All the available evidence

Peruvian mummies
Vampire The Masquerade Powers Obfuscate
Alama Coca presenting ihe divine plant to Old World conquerers-etchin g by Rob Ida

1HE SWEETEST MINIMUM DAILY REQUIREMENT "The chemical analysis of coca leaves lias shown llial lliey are relatively ricli in vitamins, particularly vitamin B,. riboflavin and vitamin C; in facl, chewing approximately two ounces of coca leaves daily (an average dose) will, supply almost a daily vitamin requirement, an important point in view of tlie greal scarcity of fruits and vegetables in the Sierra."

Richard T. Martin

"Tlie Role of Coca in (lie Hislory, Religion and Medicine of South American Indians," 1970

shows that it does just thai.. Apart from lifting the spirits and triggering a release of energy (the typical coquero consumes about one-third gram of cocaine a day), coca is beneficial in ways not usually associated with drugs. The average daily dose of two ounces gives the user much of his daily vitamin requirement, especially of thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin C. There is also evidence that coca has useful therapeutic properties: it tones the smooth muscles of the entire gaslro-intestiual tract; it is a respiratory stimulant, aiding breathing during physical exertion and at high altitudes; it reli-eves fatigue of the larynx (coca wines were much esteemed by singers and public speakers for this reason); and, if the longevity of the Andes Indians is any indication, it adds years to the lifespan.

Critics of the coca habit claim that their studies demonstrate a correlation between coca chewing and illiteracy, learning deficiencies, and malnutrition. These studies usually imply that coca causes these conditions. But coca is only one factor in the Indian lifestyle-grinding poverty, inadequate diets and hard work at high altitudes are some others. People in such situations are likely to have problems in school whether they chew coca or not. As for coca being a cause of malnutrition: without it, the average Indian of the region wouldn't have enough food or energy to work. In short, the physiological and psychological deficits some investigators have noted among handfuls of Indian coca users are, if present, more likely caused by factors other than coca. The well-fed, nineteenth-century Eucopeans, who traveled extensively in the Andes and used coca regularly, reported no ill effects. On the contrary, they found it exceedingly beneficial. ,

As for current visitors, Richard Evans Schulles, director of the Harvard Botanical Museum, chewed coca daily for eight years, found the practice beneficial and suffered no ill effects. Dr. Andrew Weil, author of The Natural Mind, says, ''Experiences with coca leave me convinced that the leaf is pleasant to consume and moderately stimulating in a useful way." The Indians he has seen did not exhibit signs of having suffered from using coca. In fact the great majority of physicians and investigators with firsthand knowledge of coca and of the Indians who use it agree that coca benefits the user.

But of the new drugs carried back to Europe by the great explorers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, coffee, tea, tobacco and opium quickly became standard drugs while coca was rejected as unfit, for use. Only firsthand experience could overcome the racial and religious prejudice directed against anything esteemed by the Indians, and there was little opportunity for this. From the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru until well into the nineteenth century, hardly any of the coca exported to Europe was worth using. The long sea voyage destroyed the potency of the improperly packed leaves.

The situation didn't change much even after cocaine was isolated from coca-by Gaedcke in 1855 and then perhaps in purer form by Neimann in 1860. Physicians had no local anesthetic of any kind and no reliable stimulant other than toxic mercury. And yet for the better part of two decades, cocaine, an excellent stimulant and local anesthetic, was virtually ignored. Most of the medically important alkaloids had been isolated by 1840, and by the lime cocaine was discovered, alkaloid research was no longer fashionable. Moreover, most of the eauLy cocaine preparations were of doubtful quality, and the findings of the physicians working with them were generally inconclusive, with the result, that cocaine was repeatedly shrugged off as a drug of no practical value.

Then in December of 1883, Dr. Theodor Aschenbrandl published a report on the reaction of a group of Bavarian soldiers to cocaine. They

A literI Neimann

"As soon as a true coquero feels an iiresistible desire to get intoxicated, he'withdraws to solitary darkness, or to the woods, because the magic power of this herb can only then be fully felt, when the ordinary claims of life, or the distraction of associating with others which occupies his mind, completely cease,"

EcUnird Fried rich Poeppig 1836

exhibited more energy and a notably greater ability to enduic fatigue than did those who hadn't received his covert coke doses. Mis paper met a kinder fate than most. Sigmuud Freud read it and turned the world on to cocaine.

At the time, Freud was a poverty-stricken 28-year-old neurologist. . According to biographer Ernest Jones, he was "constantly, occupied with endeavours to 'make a name for himself by discovering something important in either clinical or pathological medicine." (Mis preoccupation apparently stemmed more from his desire to acquire the means to many his fiancee, Martha Bernays, than from overpowering ambition.) Me became interested in cocaine after reading a number of articles in the Detroit . Therapeutic Gazette that described the usefulness of cocaine in treating morphine addiction. Asehenbrandt's . report pushed him into action. Me began reading all the available literature on the drug and planning experiments with iu Me then ran into a problem familiar to most cocaine seekers-high prices. Me had expected to pay $,13 for a gram and was shocked to find the price was $1.13. Fortunately, he was able to overcome this difficulty, in a way no longer available to impecunious coke users: he asked for credit and got it.

Sijanund Freite,

On receiving his first gram, Freud put one-twentieth of it into a glass of water and drank it down. Within a few minutes he noted that bis bad mood had vanished and that lie was feeling cheerful and energetic, lie then gave some to a friend, Fleischl, who was suffering the withdrawal pains of his latest attempt to get off morphine. Fleischfs positive reaction, together with his own good experiences, convinced Freud that professional success was imminent. . He wrote to his financec,' "[1 takc| very small doses of it regularly against depression and against indigestion, and with the most brilliant success „,. If things go on in this way we need have no concern about being able to come together and stay in Vienna."

Mis "song of praise to this magical substance," "Ober Coca," published in July 1884, outlined the methodology for all future research on psychoactive drugs. He provided a detailed history of the drug, surveyed the literature on the subject and reported the effects of cocaine on himself and others. He noted the precise size of each dose, its effect on his body and mind, the correlation between the two and how the effects changed during the ding's course of action. Mis general description of cocaine's subjective effects when taken in moderate doses requires no updating: "doses of 0.05-0.10 gram [provideJ exhilaration and lasting euphoria, which in no way differs from the normal euphoria of a healthy person ____One feels vitality and capacity for work ____It is hard to believe one in under the influence of any drug Long intensive mental or physical work is performed without any fatigue This result is enjoyed without any of the unpleasant aftereffects that follow exhilaration brought about by alcohol No craving for the further use of cocaine appears after the first, or even repeated, taking of the drug."

Freud was also fully aware that responses to psychoactive drugs vary significantly, fiom individual to individual, an awareness rarely found even in today's standard texts: "I have had the opportunity of observing the effect of cocaine on quite a number of people; and on the basis of my findings I must stress, even more emphatically than before, the variation in individual reactions to cocaine. I found some individuals who showed signs of coca euphoria exactly like my own and others who experienced absolutely no effect from doses of 0.05-0,10 gram. Yet others reacted to coca with symptoms of slight intoxication, marked by talkativeness and giddy behavior. . On the other hand, an increased capacity for work seems to me to be a constant symptom." (Freud used the terms "coca" and "cocaine" interchangeably, as if the effects of coca and cocaine were indistinguishable. They are not, but having no personal experience with coca, Freud did not know this.)

Freud proposed several therapeutic applications for cocaine. He believed it was the best thing yet for getting alcohol and morphine addicts through withdrawal. . And insofar as cocaine made people who had been lethargic and in bodily pain feel euphoric and energetic, he was right.. (Although most of them returned to their favorite drug as soon as they could; others, discovering they liked cocaine better, abused it,) He realized that cocaine's stimulant properties were ideal tor the relief of depression and suggested that cocaine would be useful as a local anesthetic.

General anesthetics such as ether weren't suitable for some important surgical procedures, and Western medicine lacked a local anesthetic until Freud's colleague. Kaul Koller, demonstrated the efficacy of cocaine. He had been much impressed by Freud's paper on cocaine, and less than three months after its publication he demonstrated cocaine's applicability in eye surgery. Previously, most eye operations had to be performed without any anesthetic whatever-an experience terrible tor the surgeon as well as the patient. ,

Karl Koller Cocain
Karl Kolter

The publicity, attending Koiler's demonstration made cocaine known to virtually every physician and educated person in Europe and America. The popular press hailed it as a wonder drug. Medical journals waxed enthusiastic over its stimulant qualities* frequently advocating an almost unlimited intake of the drug. Physicians of renown happily endorsed it.. William Hammond, former surgeon general of the LJ. S. Army, informed the public that he used cocaine as a tonic and stimulant on a daily basis, always found it refreshing and never suffered any ill effects. The 78-year-old president of the British Medical Association described how cocaine enabled him to take 15-mile hikes and climb mountains with youthful vigor and no feelings of fatigue.

Such a fuss naturally led a large number of people, to wonder what all the shouting was about. . They tried cocaine. And not all of them were moderate in their use. Reports of cocaine "intoxication" began appearing in the medical journals, and doctors became alarmed over what they believed to be the glowing rate of cocaine "addiction." The New York Medical Record ran an editorial in 1ft86 claiming that "no medical technique with such a short history has claimed so many victims as cocaine." In the same year Albrecht Eulenmeyer, the Continent's „ leading addiction specialist,' hysterically accused Freud of releasing "the third scourge of mankind" (the other two being alcohol and morphine). What generated this remarkable charge was the widespread touting of cocaine as a cure for morphine addiction. Morphine had been similarly pushed as a cure for opium addiction and a great many opium addicts had become morphine addicts. And Eulenmeyer apparently, feared another switch in addictions, from morphine to cocaine.

However mistaken his notions, Eulenmeyer was persuasive. By 1887 most of the German medical community opposed the use of cocaine except as a local anesthetic. Eulenmeyer had also jeopardized Freud's professional reputation. To save it, the father of psychoanalysis abandoned his advocacy of cocaine-but not before attacking the shortsightedness of his critics in his fifth and final drug paper, "Craving for and Fear of Cocaine." Dependence on cocaine, he argued, was a rare occurrence, and so useful a drug should not be condemned because some people misused it.. Such, people, he wrote, "would abuse, and indeed did abuse, any stimulant offered them."

Still, the widely acclaimed eye surgery Koller performed assured boom times for cocaine. The combination of the fust local anesthetic, and a pleasurable stimulant was simply irresistible. Eminent personages, medical and otherwise.

"I CRAVE FOR MENTAL. EXALTATION, WATSON"

" 'My mind,1, [Sherlock HolmesJ said, 'rebels at Milieu. Give ine problems, jjtvc ¡tie work. give inc the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most indicate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. ) can dispense (lien with aililicial stimulants But 1 abhor (lie dull routine of existence. 1 crave lr: i'- t:■ (.■ I exaltation. Thai is why 1 have chosen my own particular profession. or rallier created it. for I am (lit- only one in the world.'

'... May I ask whether you have any professional inquhy on foot at present?'

None, Hence lite cocaine. I cannot live without brain-work. What else Ls (here lo live for? Stand a) (lie window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how I hi" yellow ,loj>. swirls down llie street and drills across the dun coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers. Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exeil them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth.

Si:' Arthur Consn Doyle The Sign of the [our, IHXk testified to its wondrous powers. The newspapers ran stories extolling its virtues, while the flamboyant announcements of cocaine's commercial exploiters filled their advertising columns. Even the staid Boston Medical and Surgical Journal hailed it as a stimulant that "never depresses," ,' h;ts "no re-coil" a ad -Emulates fatigue.

In the healing marketplace, doctors and patent-medicine makers hailed and hawked cocaine as a philosopher's stone among drugs. Surgeons used it as a local anesthetic; other healers, ordained and laymen alike, sold it as a cure for the common cold, asthma, sinusitis, impotence almost any ailment a man could conjure up. The Hay Fever Association adopted it as (heir official remedy.

Customers must have discovered faiijy soon that while cocaine momentarily relieved a number of symptoms associated with some (if these ailments, it wasn't a specific remedy for any of them except fatigue and depression. But this didn't stop them from buying cocaine, and the coke peddlers met the demand with lhat breadth of vision and democratic respect for enlarging their market we have come to expect from American business. Cocaine was packaged for the rich and the poor, for the elderly and the young-even, indeed, for little children. It came in soda pop as well as in tea and wine, in chewing gum as well as in cigarettes, in nose powders and in pastes resembling plug tobacco. And, of course, it was available at the corner drugstore and grocery simply as 100 percent cocaine-no prescription necessary, no signature requested.

In nineteenth-century America, a time and place frequently dubbed the "dope-fiend's paradise," any drug you desired was both cheap and legal.. There was no Food and Drug Administration to ride herd on manufacturers, and advertising men were restricted only by the limits of their imagination. Coca Cola, a cocaine-based drink untiL 1903, was sold to the pu Mic as the "intellectual beverage." Nyal's Compound Extract of Damiana, with one gram of cocaine to the fluid ounce, directed its pitch to the impotent and frigid; Metaealfs Coca Wine assured its customers that it was not only a "reliable aphrodisiac" but that it would curt "typhus, scuivy, gastralgia, provide youthful vigor, and restore worn vocal chords." For those whose upbringing or current situation made the open use of dings difficult, . there were products like Delicious Dopeless Koca-Nola, a soft drink that contained as much cocaine as its dozens of mote forthright competitors.

Other than alcohol, the average American had no reason to he shy about buying and using any drug. The Women's Christian Temperance Movement and the Anti-Saloon League had long been making drinkers uncomfortable. Dry communities had been springing up all over the landscape since the middle of the century. A tool to I was held in such low esteem that doctors frequently urged alcoholics to switch to opium and become useful members' of the community. Cocaine became so popular and commonplace that there were drugstores where, in the words of a disgruntled puritan, "regular customers can enter and get cocaine without any formality Holding np one finger means the party wants a 'five-cent powder'; two fingers, ten cents worth; three, fifteen cents, and so on, the mere holding up of the finger being enough." Like the way a bartender pours a regular customer the usual when he sees him coming through tlte door.

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