In a study conducted in 2010, it was found that over 1,500,000 people in the United States used Cocaine, third in drugs after psychotherapeutic drugs, and Marijuana. The number of cocaine users in the United States seems to be slowly shrinking, but the number is still uncomfortably large.
Cocaine comes from the erythroxylum coca bush leaves, which was originally found in the Andes region in South America 3,000 years before the birth of Christ. Coca is considered to be the oldest natural origin stimulate that currently exits. Ancient Incas in the Andes Mountains chewed on the leaves of this plant to give their hearts a kick start and speed their breathing up to counteract the affects of living at such a high altitude. In Peru, the natives only chewed the plant during religious events. After Spanish soldiers invaded Peru in 1532 and conquered the native Indians forcing them into labor in silver mines, the natives were forced to chew coca leaves because it made them easier to control, and the negligent use of the coca leaves began.
It wasn’t until 1859 that German Chemist Albert Niemann isolated cocaine by extracting it from the coca leaves. It took thirty years for the drugs popularity to surface in the medical community. Cocaine was originally promoted by the Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund frued as a “magical” substance, that cured depression and sexual impotence. Freud published the article, “Uber Coca” which meant about coke. In the article he referred to all the benefits of cocaine. Freud was a regular user of the substance and prescribed it to all of his friends and patience. But one Freuds close friends suffered from paranoid hallucinations from the prescription and one of his patient died from a large dosage the he had been prescribed.
These incidents did little to affect the American opinion of cocaine in the late 1800’s because in 1886 John Pemberton included coca leaves as an ingredient in his latest creation, Coca-cola. This did not last too long though, for Pemberton was forced by public-pressure to eliminate cocaine from the soft drink recipe in 1903.
Despite the public pressures, the drugs popularity continued to skyrocket. It was documented by the United States government in 1912, that 5,000 deaths were cocaine-related. Ten years later the drug was officially banned in the United States.
In the 1970’s cocaine had the reputation of the rich man’s drug because of the expenses involved in the habit. Columbian drug traffickers saw the money in this illegal industry and began to create an elaborate system to smuggle cocaine into the United States. As time continued, cocaine’s public view diminished and it became a drug related to poverty and crime. The Columbian drug cartels continued to smuggle drugs into the United States through the 1990’s. Law Enforcement agencies were able to bust the large cartels in the mid 1990’s but smaller groups of drug smugglers continue today.
In April 2012, two boats in the Caribbean that were...