Cocaine

Cocaine is God's way of saying you're making too much money - Robin Williams

Cocaine

image by: Olivia Cree
     

Cocaine is generally sold on the street as a fine, white, crystalline powder, known as “coke,” “C,“ “snow,” “flake,“ “blow,” “bump,“ “candy,“ “Charlie,” “rock,” and “toot.” “Crack,” the street name for the smokeable form of cocaine, got its name from the crackling sound made when it’s smoked. A “speedball” is cocaine or crack combined with heroin, or crack and heroin smoked together.

Cocaine has been part of society for centuries. Did you know that that the original Coke formula invented in 1886 had a significant amount of cocaine in it which was inspired by a tonic wine called Vin Mariani concocted from coca leaves and Bordeaux.

The concoction contained 11 percent alcohol and 6.5 mg of cocaine in every ounce. The mix produced a third drug, a compound called cocaethlyene that satisfied hundreds of customers, including Queen Victoria, two U.S. presidents — Ulysses S. Grant and William McKinley — the sculptor Auguste Rodin, the playwright Ibsen and Pope Leo XIII. The pontiff appreciated the “tonic” so much that he even advertised it, appearing on a poster which proclaimed Vin Mariani’s virtues.

Indeed the advertisement described the wine as a “stimulant for the fatigued and over-worked body and brain” which nourished, fortified, refreshed, aided digestion, prevented “malaria, influenza and wasting diseases.” The wine was also rumored to be “a most wonderful invigorator of the sexual organs” — a feature kept secret in the papal endorsement.

Source: How Cocaine and Controversy Mixed With Soda, DNews, February 4, 2013

Cocaine was eventually removed by 1903 but interestingly Coca-Cola continues to use coca leaves in its product!

As a Coke exec told the New York Times, “ingredients from the coca leaf are used, but there is no cocaine in it and it is all tightly overseen by regulatory authorities.” In fact, the United States (and most other nations) expressly prohibits the sale and trade of coca leaves. In order for Coca-Cola to continue to exist in its current form, the company has a special arrangement with the Drug Enforcement Administration, allowing it to import dried coca leaves from Peru (and to a lesser degree, from Bolivia) in huge quantities.

The dried coca leaves make their way to a processing plant in Maywood, New Jersey, operated by the Stepan Corporation, a publicly traded chemicals company. The Stepan factory imports roughly 100 metric tons of the leaves each year, stripping the active ingredient—the cocaine—from them. The cocaine-free leaves are then shipped off to Coke to turn into syrup, and, ultimately, soda.

What does Stepan do with the cocaine? It goes to the Mallinckrodt Corporation, which creates a legal, topical anesthesia called cocaine hydrochloride. Cocaine hydrochloride is used to numb the lining of the mouth, nose, or throat, and requires a DEA order form to obtain.

Source: What Happened To The Cocaine In Coca-Cola? Business Insider, February 24, 2012

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Last Updated : Wednesday, October 16, 2019