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History of Cocaine

a person holds a sign reading cocaine in one hand while discussing the history of cocaine use

Cocaine and its use have been seen in various movies and shows, but what is the actual history of cocaine? Cocaine is a stimulant drug that has a long and complex history. Throughout the history of cocaine, there have been people who have struggled with addiction to the drug. Luckily, cocaine addiction treatment programs have been established to help those with cocaine addiction.

At Michael’s House, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment programs that can help individuals overcome their struggles and start a new life. With our support and guidance, you can feel empowered to take control of your life and get back on track. If you or someone you love is struggling with cocaine addiction, please contact us today at 760.548.4032 and find out how we can help.

Facts About Cocaine

Cocaine is found naturally in the leaves of the coca plant. The Incas used the leaves for cultural, religious, and medicinal purposes.1 The culture might have even used the leaves as a form of food since the plant contains vitamins and protein.

When the conquistadors began investigating Inca culture, they discovered that the workers were more effective when using the drug. As a result, the occupying Spanish began cultivating crops of coca leaves, and some people began using them on their own.

Over time, coca leaves began making their way into Europe, but many people found the idea of nibbling on leaves to be a bit déclassé. These posh people began thinking of other ways to take in cocaine, developing teas and other drinks by boiling and otherwise processing the leaves. However, coca leaves didn’t travel well, and the potent ingredients tended to deteriorate during the trip.

In the 1880s, multiple companies developed a concentrated version of cocaine known as cocaine hydrochloride, which is the powder form of the drug.2 Suddenly, the drug was easy to take, and it was very powerful. Cocaine was also touted as an effective medication against morphine addiction. People struggling to stop using this powerful opiate were encouraged to use cocaine instead, substituting one addiction for another.

History and Information About Cocaine

At first, cocaine seemed like a miracle cure for many of society’s ills. It was used as a pain relief, an energy booster, and even to treat depression. Unfortunately, some soon discovered the drug could be highly addictive if misused. Cocaine and its use have had a long and often troubled history, causing much societal damage along the way.

Intoxicating Beverages

In the 1860s, a French chemist, Angelo Mariani, began looking for ways to produce cocaine-laced beverages. After many failed experiments, Mariani placed ground coca leaves in a suspension of Bordeaux wine. This beverage, known as Vin Mariani, would become very popular and would be used by Thomas Edison, Queen Victoria, the Czar of Russia, Pope Saint Pius X, and Pope Leo XIII.3

The effects of cocaine are often accelerated when the drug is combined with alcohol. Researchers suggest that the increased effects caused by the combination might lead to increased consumption of both products and could even lead to an overdose.

When Prohibition made producing alcohol-based products difficult, if not impossible, the inventor John Pemberton placed coca leaves in a new sugary drink, Coca-Cola. When word of the “energizing” effects of this drink became apparent, public pressure began to mount, and as a result, the ingredient was removed from the drink in 1903.

Similarly, reports of cocaine addiction, and even cocaine-related deaths, began to rise. As a result, legislators took action and moved to ban the drug. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 required companies to disclose cocaine in their ingredient lists.4 While it is likely that legislators thought these moves would eliminate drug use within the population, the drug would return just a few decades later.

Drug of Choice

Cocaine use remained through the 1920s and the 1950s in the background. However, much of this changed during the 1970s and 1980s. Cocaine was the perfect drug for young people who wanted to work hard all day and party all night. Cocaine was still considered a drug of the wealthy as it was costly.

In the mid-1980s, a new form of cocaine, known as “crack cocaine,” hit the streets. This drug was more powerful than standard cocaine and was sold at a low price. Use of this drug began to soar as a result, and newscasters and politicians warned of an “epidemic” of cocaine and crack cocaine addiction. The public responded with understandable panic.

Benefits of Seeking Cocaine Addiction Treatment

By understanding the history of cocaine, we can better understand how to approach addiction recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine addiction, seek treatment as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there are five significant benefits to seeking help, such as:

  1. Improved physical health – By developing healthy habits and understanding the causes of cocaine addiction
  2. Improved mental health – Addressing underlying issues that have contributed to addiction can help a person find peace and cope with stress in healthier ways
  3. Increased self-confidence – When you can control your cravings and make better decisions, your self-confidence can grow
  4. Better relationships – Working through issues with family and friends can help to strengthen bonds and build healthier relationships
  5. Improved financial stability – With treatment, you may be able to find a job or stable income that allows you to support yourself financially

Finally, by seeking cocaine addiction treatment, you can regain control over your life and regain independence. Remember, seeking treatment is a brave and worthy decision.

Call Michael’s House to Learn More About Our Cocaine Addiction Treatment Program

The history of cocaine has been a complicated one. While the drug is still widely available, it has the potential to cause significant harm when abused. This is why seeking professional help for cocaine addiction is so important. If you or someone you know is struggling with a cocaine addiction, Michael’s House can help.

At Michael’s House, we’ve developed programs to help people break an addiction to cocaine and learn how to repair the damage that cocaine use has done to a person. Please contact us today at 760.548.4032. Our operators will gladly outline your options and start the enrollment process.


  1. – “Cocaine”
  2. – “History of Cocaine”
  3. – “15 Most Bizzare Medical Treatments Ever”
  4. Food and Drug Administration – “Part I: The 1906 Food and Drugs Act and Its Enforcement