BASIC FACTS ABOUT COCAINE AND CRACK
What are Cocaine and Crack?
Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant, the most powerful found in
nature. Most often seen in the form of a white, crystalline powder, it is
extracted from the leaves of the coca plant.
What is Crack?
Crack is a smokeable, rapidly reacting form of cocaine base, which is
processed from cocaine hydrochloride. It usually appears as off-white chips,
rocks, or chunks.
How Are These Drugs Taken?
The primary route of administration for cocaine powder is through inhalation,
commonly referred to as "snorting." This is often done in a ritualistic way;
e.g., poured onto a mirror, chopped, separated into "lines," and then "snorted"
off a small "coke" spoon, or through a straw or rolled-up currency. Some users
dissolve the powder in water and inject it into veins, though this is less
common than "snorting."
Crack is smoked. This is easier than "snorting" and carries much less social
stigma than injection. Chips or chunks are usually placed in a pipe, often made
of glass, or a similar vessel and heated with a match or cigarette lighter. The
user inhales the fumes.
How Do They Affect You?
Cocaine in all its forms stimulates the central nervous system. It causes the
heart to beat more rapidly and blood vessels to constrict. This results in the
demand for a greater supply of blood. But the narrowed blood vessels are unable
to deliver the volume of blood demanded, which significantly increases the risk
of cardiovascular incidents or strokes. Initially, use of these drugs reduces
appetite and makes the user feel more alert, energetic, and self-confident—even
With high doses, users can become delusional, paranoid, and even suffer acute
toxic psychosis. Blood pressure increases, which can cause strokes or heart
attacks. In some cases these effects have proven fatal. As the drug’s effects
wear off, a depression (often called a "crash") can set in, leaving the user
feeling fatigued, jumpy, fearful, and anxious.
Crack causes the same effects as powder cocaine. Because it is smoked,
however, onset is more rapid and intensity greater. Thus, the effects may be
significantly exacerbated. The depression following use is described as
considerably deeper and more profound. The likelihood of cocaine psychosis after
binging on crack may be greater and notably more intense. Crack use is
associated with incidents of hyperactive violence by users and is capable of
doing significant harm to fetuses of pregnant users.
Paying the Price of Cocaine and Crack Use
A broad range of consequences include:
- Dependence and addiction
- Cardiovascular problems, including irregular heartbeat, heart attack,
and heart failure
- Neurological incidents, including strokes, seizures, fungal brain
infections, and hemorrhaging in tissue surrounding the brain
- Pulmonary effects, such as fluid in the lungs, aggravation of asthma and
other lung disorders, and respiratory failure
- Psychiatric complications, including psychosis, paranoia, depression,
anxiety disorders, and delusions
- Increased risk of traumatic injury from accidents and aggressive,
violent, or criminal behavior
- Other effects include: sleeplessness, sexual dysfunction, diminished
sense of smell, perforated nasal septum, nausea, and headaches.
- Crack users often singe eyebrows or eyelashes with the flame of matches
or lighters. They also burn fingertips and other body parts from contact
with superheated vessels (e.g., glass pipes).
- Fetal cocaine effects include premature separation of the placenta,
spontaneous abortion, premature labor, low birth weight and head
circumference at birth, greater chance of visual impairment, mental
retardation, genitourinary malformations, and greater chance of
- For intravenous (IV) cocaine users, there is increased risk of
hepatitis, HIV infection, and endocarditis.
- For addicts, whether they smoke, inject, or snort, promiscuous sexual
activity can increase the risk of HIV infection
For additional information contact the Phoenix House American Council for
Drug Education 164 West 74th Street, New York, NY 10023, 1-800-488-DRUG (3784),
Taken from On Cocaine by Sigmund Freud
A few minutes after taking cocaine, one experiences a certain
exhiliration and feeling of lightness. One feels a certain furriness on the
lips and palate, followed by a feeling of warmth in the same areas; if one
now drinks cold water, it feels warm on the lips and cold in the throat. One
other occasions the predominant feeling is a rather pleasant coolness in the
mouth and throat.
During this first trial I experienced a short period of toxic effects,
which did not recur in subsequent experiments. Breathing became slower and
deeper and I felt tired and sleepy; I yawned frequently and felt somewhat
dull. After a few minutes the actual cocaine euphoria began, introduced by
repeated cooling eructation. Immediately after taking the cocaine I noticed
a slight slackening of the pulse and later a moderate increase.
I have observed the same physical signs of the effect of cocaine in
others, mostly people my own age. The most constant symptom proved to be the
repeated cooling eructation. This is often accompanied by a rumbling which
must originate from high up in the intestine; two of the people I observed,
who said they were able to recognize movements in their stomachs, declared
emphatically that they had repeatedly detected such movements. Often, at the
outset of the cocaine effect, the subjects alleged that they experienced an
intense feeling of heat in the head. I noticed this in myself as well in the
course of some later experiments, but on other occasions it was absent. In
only two cases did coca give rise to dizziness. On the whole the toxic
effects of coca are of short duration, and much less intense than those
produced by effective doses of quinine or salicylate of soda; they seem to
become even weaker after repeated use of cocaine.
"Cocaine Pharmacokinetics in Humans." The Journal of
Ethnopharmacology, 3 (1981) 353-366.
By: A. Barnett, R. Hawks, and R. Resnick.
"Therefore, on the basis of this new information that has come as a
result of technological development we can conclude with a pratical
observation. The size of the quid of coca leaves that can be comfortably
accomodated by a person is such that it is unlikely that coca chewing, as
practiced for centuries in places like Macchu Piccu, presents the dangers
that may result from the modern forms of recreational use."
Particularly interesting about this article is that the report came out
of the Division of Research of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
"The Therapeutic Value of Coca in Contemporary Medicine."
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 3 (1981) 367-376.
By: A. Weil.
"I have lived among coca-using Indians of the Andes and the Amazon
basin in Columbia and Peru and have not seen any signs of physical
deterioration attributable to the leaf. I have never seen an instance of
coca toxicity. Nor have I observed physiological or psychological dependence
on coca. Even life-long chewers seem able to get the effect they want from
the same dose over time; there is no development of tolerance and certainly
no withdrawal syndrome upon sudden discontinuance of use."
"Britian's National Health Service Prescribed Cocaine"
My grandfather, like many medical doctors of his time (and like Freud)
was a cocaine addict. It caused him no problems at all as far as we could
see, or he reported, and he always claimed that without the cocaine he would
have been an alcoholic. He died at the age of 96, shortly after his third
wife had died on him, and it would seem because he was fed up with living so
long. In those days in Britain addicts could register with the NHS, and thus
there were no black market profits to be made on illegal drugs, and no
pushers. The drug problems all started when we became sanctimonious about
these addicts on the NHS, kicked them off, and just like the US before us,
created the whole apalling modern drug scene of criminality, pushers, and
Experts push legalization of cocaine gum to wean addicts
From the 8th May 1994 San Diego Union Tribune
(xscribed wholly w/o permission)
By: Dan Freedman, Hearst News Service
WASHINGTON - Quenn Victoria did it. Winston Churchill in his youth did
it, and millions of peasant farmers in South America do it. So why not allow
it in America? Why not let people chew on low-potency cocaine lozenges or
gum? "Millions have used these products, and we have no evidence of
harm associated with it," says Ethan Nadelmann, a professor at
Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public
Affairs. "It may be less addictive than coffee." Nadelmann and
others who advocate changing the government's zero-tolerance approach to
drugs want to create a weakened version of cocaine that could be sold over
the counter as a substitute for the hard stuff. Then potential consumers
would have an alternative to crack cocaine, which is smoked, and high-purity
regular cocaine, which is snorted, the way beer and wine are alternatives to
high-proof vodka. The idea of marketing cocaine-lite is not making
much head-way at a time when the American public is fearful of crime and
when the crime bill moving through Congress is promising more prisons and
punishment for drug offenders.
But raising the possibility of such a product goes to the core of the
debate over the best way to undercut criminal drug enterprises. Nadelmann
and others argue that low-potency cocaine might draw potential customers
away from drug-trafficking organizations smuggling tons of cocaine from
South America and violent street gangs peddling crack."If some people
want to distill those products down to something more potent, let
them," Nadelmann wrote in an editorial with Rolling Stone publisher,
Jann Wenner, in the May 5th issue of the magazine. "But most people
won't want to buy it."
However, Herbert Kleber, a psychiatrist and a White House anti-drug
official in the Bush administration, says low-potency cocaine would not
undercut criminal drug gangs because no one would use it as an alternative.
Now a vice president of Columbia University's Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse, Kleber calls the idea of a cocaine substitute
"scientifically naive," adding that it "totally
misunderstands the reason why people use and misuse drugs." Kleber
compares the temptation of low-potency cocaine for the uninitiated or the
recovering addict with his experience in quitting smoking. "I smoked
for 25 years and if i have just one, I'm back to two packs a day," he
said. "It's the same with low-dose cocaine."
Dr. Andrew Weil of the University of Arizona medical school disagrees. He
says the widespread chewing of coca leaves among Andean peasants suggests
that, in low dosages, cocaine is not addictive. Weil also says that the
product is good for treating stomach ailments and motion sickness.
"It's a shame that we've made disappear from our world a form of a drug
that has a whole bunch of benefits," Weil says.
Watered-down cocaine was common in turn-of-the-century America and
Europe. Recently uncovered records in Scotland suggest that Queen Victoria
and her young house guest, Winston Churchill, consumed cocaine-filled
lozenges for sore throats and other maladies contracted while staying at
At the same time, cocaine was an ingredient of Coca-Cola and several
varieties of patent medicines sold in America. All that changed in 1914 with
the Harrison Act, which banned cocaine without a prescription. Drug-law
defenders say cocaine was banned because it is dangerously addictive.
"There are some genies you can't let out of the bottle," Kleber
says. Low-potency cocaine differs from regular cocaine powder and crack in
terms of its purity level, and how fast and thoroughly it alters brain
According to Weil, the coca leaf chewed by peasant farmers in Bolivia and
Peru is half of 1 percent pure cocaine. By contrast, cocaine smuggled in by
traffickers is 50 percent to 60 percent pure. The effect of crack is even
more intense because it is smoked and its chemicals reach the brain in
seconds. Cocaine inhaled through the nose takes 30 minutes to be fully
effective. Orally ingested cocaine in lozenges or gum takes an hour,
according to Kleber.
John Gregich of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
argues that "the notion you can create a safe stimulant out of
something as addictive as cocaine doesn't match our experience." Still,
the University of Arizona's Weil notes that decades of tough law enforcement
measures against drug traffickers and dealers have "made worse what we
want to make better, destroying the peasant society of South America and
creating the crack culture in American cities."
Intranasal Cocaine Administration
Insofar as cocaine use is concerned, I have - after many years of
foolishly self-destructive behavior discovered a very nice way to do coke.
Take a nasal decongestant sprayer bottle, empty it. take a small amount of
powdered cocaine - 1/4 to 1/2 a gram - and dissolve it in maybe a cubic inch
of water. add a drop or two of vodka or other ethanol. stir it. the cocaine
dissolves into the water, leaving the cut(s) on the bottom, a side benefit I
didn't originally anticipate. pour the solution - a 7% solution, if I may
offer a nickname - into yon vile vial, and apply to your nasal cavities,
If overfilled, you will get a jet of solution. otherwise, you get a nice
mix of solution and air in a mist that dissolves easily into your nasal
passages, with consequent bodily effects approximately equivalent to a cup
of coffee. this is advantageous for many, many reasons ...
- No waste. you get exactly what your body can absorb, and no crumbs
clinging to your nasal passages and falling down your front. you don't
get so much that the effect borders on toxicity, as you do when doing
lines. and you can make a 1/2 gram last up to a week, in this fashion.
- No paraphernalia. this fits nicely into a night bag with toothbrush or
toothpaste, and is bust-free, in the car, on one's person, at one's
desk, or crossing international borders. no razors, no straws, no
mirrors, no 'bullets' or little brown vials waiting to fall out of your
- No addictive sequence. it's much easier to forego tooting when using
at this level, and put it aside for the night, instead of staying up
'til the wee hours. and it combines with being productive about the same
way that coffee does.( I have also applied small amounts of
methamphetamine in this fashion, with similar low-impact effects).
It's really a shame that the Establishment doesn't apply itself to
teaching people how to use drugs intelligently and creatively, since,
clearly, such paths to competence and maturity exist. If I had known ten
years ago what I have learned through much reading and thinking, I would
have saved myself a lot of money, and, more importantly, a lot of grief and
self-destructive behavior which I have, fortunately, survived.
Please perpetuate this information as widely as possible, the better to
teach people how to avoid addictive behavioral sequences while continuing to
explore the realms of awareness in a mature and thoughtful manner.
The following document was presented to the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights - Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination
and Protection of Minorities Working Group on Indigenous Populations in July
1993 by the "Tupay Katari" movement .
My vacation in Columbia.
By: David Ashley
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 1994
A few years back I went on a trip down south through
Mexico, Central America, and then to Colombia and Ecuador. It was great fun,
and a very rewarding experience. In Guatamala I met an English guy named
Nigel that had been in Colombia. He said that he had traveled from England,
going to Brazil, then through various countries, and ending up in Colombia.
Nigel told me that along the route he met locals that became his friends,
and often they used Cocaine. Nigel said he had been afraid of Cocaine,
having been brought up in the typical "drugs are bad"
environment. He was afraid that if he tried it he'd become addicted.
Eventually he saw that although his friends used it, they were not addicted.
He tried it, and he liked it. He told me that he used it daily for a couple
of months. I asked him if it was hard to stop. He said it wasn't.
Now I left him and I kept heading south. He told me of a place called the
Hotel Miramar in Santa Marta, Colombia. It's east from Cartegena. He said
it's a place where gringos can go and use cocaine, and not really be
hassled. Somewhere along my trip I decided I wanted to try cocaine if I had
I made it to Colombia and ended up in Santa Marta. The Hotel Miramar was
a fantastic place because it's a gringo hangout. My Spanish was decent but I
could never get close to the natives because it was too cumbersome talking
in their language, and very few Latins speak English. Colombia has a
reputation of being unsafe so not many tourists go there, so if you're
travelling around the country you feel like you're the only gringo.
So it was nice to meet up with other travelers in the Hotel Miramer.
There were people that stayed there for months or years, and then the others
that would come for just a day or two. I ended up staying there for a month.
I was waiting for mail from home, and also I was enjoying the company of
During this time I tried cocaine, and decided I liked it. I would snort
the cocaine only. I'd typically use it with other travelers, then a bunch
of people would get together and just talk or hang out. I'd usually start
using it in the early evening, continue over about a 6 hour period, then I'd
stop and go to sleep. I never used it as a pick-me-up in the morning. I got
in the habit of only using it when I already felt pretty good.
There were other people that used it a lot more -- they would keep going
for more than a day or two. I thought this was silly because even though you
don't feel sleepy, you know your body wants to sleep, and I didn't want to
push it. Also there's not much point in using it for longer periods, as the
effect seems to diminish. I would build up a tolerance so that as the time
wore on I'd have to take it more and more frequently (over the 4 or 6 hour
period in the evening). As I say, I'd usually be with other people when
using it and we'd sometimes go out in the night for walks. While in the
Hotel you feel perfectly safe using it, it's not a good idea to carry it
around town with you -- you never know.
I figure that over the month I used the cocaine maybe 15 or 20 times. I
liked the feeling it gave me. It completely eliminates any feelings of
inhibition, so you feel comfortable talking about anything. You also feel
fascinated by what other people are saying, although I would prefer to talk.
You feel really good, like the cocaine is tickling your pleasure center. You
feel energetic. You wouldn't get hungry.
After a month I decided that the surroundings were getting stale, so I
left to go to a neighboring beach called Park Tayrona. It's a really
beautiful place and a lot of gringos hang out there as well. I didn't do any
cocaine while here but I didn't miss it either. There was no feeling of
dependency. Cocaine was more of something you did when it seemed like a good
idea--not because you felt you needed it. It was something that you'd use
when you're already having a good time--it would kick you up into the next
level of enjoyment.
There was immeasurable pot available also in Colombia. I used to smoke a
little but didn't really smoke enough to get over the munchy/can't
concentrate stage. Other people constantly smoked the stuff. I never really
understood the allure. I figured that the best time to use it was when you
were hungry and wanted the local food to taste like a king's banquet .
The only problems I had with the cocaine was frequent pain in my nose. I
was told this was because it wasn't pure, or that it was amphetamine and not
cocaine. Over my trip I tried cocaine many more times and it seemed always a
variable experience, depending on where I got it. Also my opinion of what
"good" cocaine was never matched anyone else's. One guy gave me
some of what he said was the best he had ever used in his life, and it had
no effect at all on me. I later decided that what I had called cocaine
before was some kind of amphetamine, and what this guy called cocaine was
really cocaine (pure), and that for some reason it didn't work on me. This
guy used to smoke it also (freebasing) and I tried that several times but
never once had any significant effect, although he was flying. After several
times when someone would tell me "try this, this is the best" and
it did nothing for me, I decided that the substance I had liked before was
no longer available and I stopped testing.
At no time did I ever feel any withdrawal symptoms. Also I never used it
every single day--I would stop for a day or two after each day or two of
use. And I never used it for a period longer than 6 hours.
I feel my experience with the drug hasn't been harmful at all. Instead it
destroyed a lot of myths I had absorbed in the United States culture. I
learned that the substance had absolutely no addictive qualities at all.
Then I decided that the biggest problem was since it was illegal down there
as well (at least if you got caught you'd have to pay a bribe to make the
cop go away) you never knew "exactly" what you were getting. The
danger of the drug was never the pure part but what you ended up getting
that was called "cocaine". I believe my experience with the
cocaine has improved me, and I believe everyone (provided they're adults)
should have the same option to experiment. The only improvement I could
suggest would be fixing the situation so you know what you're getting every
time, instead of it being a crap shoot.
Since Colombia is the source of this stuff, it's certainly going to be
cheaper. I never paid more than $4 or $5 a gram, and typically paid $3. Of
course I believe it wasn't quite as pure because I'd use a gram over an
evening, and from what I've heard about stuff in US that's A LOT. Since
Colombia I've never used any of the stuff. My thinking is I've heard prices
in the US are $100 per gram. At the time I was taking it I felt that it was
barely worth the $4 a gram. There's no way I'll pay 25 or 33 times what I
could get it for down there.
Pot was also much cheaper. I saw a guy buy perhaps a half pound for
something like $7.00. It's truly a weed, and isn't really illegal. Pot is so
cheap you never have to buy it--it just gets passed around by people that
keep their own supply.
Wages in Colombia are so low compared to wages here, the locals have to
pay almost the same proportion of their income to buy cocaine as Americans
would have to in the US. I never really saw any evidence of massive drug
addiction in Colombia. Almost 100% of the drug use seemed to be by the
gringos that were visiting.
I've decided that I believe drugs should be legalized. I believe that
we've all been victims of a horrible propaganda campaign. I believe it would
be much better if drugs were legalized, regulated (for purity), and also
perhaps taxed a little to cover costs of chronic abusers. I believe it is a
good idea to travel, because you find out interesting things, like perhaps
the USA isn't really as free as you might have thought. In Colombia the
police don't really care if you use illegal substances--they just use it as
an excuse to sweat a bribe out of you. They're not interested in throwing
you in jail, they just want some of your yanqui $$$. Yes, the system is
very, very corrupt.
Colombians were probably my favorite people. The country is beautiful and
the people are very friendly. Although Colombia has gotten a bad rap in the
news, this is unjust. While a few drug kingpins control a lot of the
politics in the country and are ruthless murderers, the Colombian people are
almost entirely very warm, intelligent, friendly people. It is truly a great
When I came back up through Mexico and went through the border crossing
at Tijuana, I told the officer that I had just flown up from Cartegena,
Colombia. He then checked me out a little more thoroughly than he would have
if I'd only been in Mexico--he checked my drivers licence and then looked at
my backpack in the xray machine. I don't think he had me unpack it. But the
guy said that Colombia wasn't a good place, and the people were screwing us
over. His statement simply is not at all true.
One other interesting point: As I understand it, if I'm outside the US I
am no longer bound by US laws, but must obey the laws of the country I'm
in--but that country enforces them and the US doesn't care anymore. I was
told by Germans that their laws are binding on them no matter where they
are. For example if they get caught in Colombia using drugs and are punished
there, the Colombian government will inform the German government, and send
them home, and when they get to Germany the German government will then
pushish them again. I thought this was ridiculous.
Coca: An Andean Tradition
THE VIRTUES OF COCA
CONFUSION BETWEEN COCA AND DRUGS
AGAINST ERADICATION AND FOR LEGALIZATION
The coca plant is as old as man. The cultivation and consumption of its
leaves, which were considered sacred by pre-Columbian civilizations goes
back over 4,000 years. Of greatest significance is the fact that over time
the shrub has become an integral part of Andean culture and today, as in the
past, it represents the material and spiritual force underlying the identity
of the indigenous peoples.
In the Andes no plant is more appreciated and valued by the Indians than
the coca plant. The natives of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire which included Peru,
Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Argentina planted it just as the vine is
cultivated in Europe. Historical record has shown that the coca plant, which
has been cultivated since time immemorial, has always been omnipresent in
the indigenous universe and that it has not only enriched their ancestral
traditions but symbolized their vigorous resistance to colonial domination
Since the Spanish conquistadors identified it as one of the essential
elements of the magical, religious and medicinal ritual of Andean tradition
and as a factor that permitted the conquered Indians to maintain their
cohesion and resistance, coca has always been persecuted and combated as a
"diabolic weed". Within the ethnocentric view of the European
colonizers, the mysterious leaf employed in rituals and religious offerings
to the Sun and Mother Earth hindered the conversion of the indigenous
peoples to Christianism. The first adversaries of the coca plant appeared
and proposed its straightforward eradication under the pretext of ensuring
the salvation of indigenous souls.
Throughout the centuries the coca leaf has been attacked and defended
from all sides. It was attacked by the colonizers as part of a process of
cultural alienation and by the Inquisition, behind which hid the ferocious
appetites for gold, silver and all the wealth that slumbered in the depths
of the Andes. Despite the inestimable contribution by the pre-Columbian
civilizations to old Europe in the form of a number of valuable plants such
as the potato, maize, the tomato, okra, cotton, the chili pepper, quinoa and
certain varieties of bean, paradoxically coca is singled out for
discrimination. However, the aboriginal peoples identify with the coca plant
- a living expression of Andean culture - and by defending it they have
always defended the rights of the Andean people to preserve their millennial
traditions and values.
Within the aboriginal peoples' way of life, the coca leaf is not a commodity
in the Andean world nor does it possess any commodity value in social
relations. The fundamental role of the shrub, with its mythological
connotations, is as a nexus integrating and assuring the social cohesion of
indigenous families and communities (ayllus); throughout their lives it is
present as a symbol of fraternity, solidarity, community spirit, mutual
comprehension and reciprocal tolerance among the members of the vast empire
Coca has also played and continues to play a role in mediating conflicts,
as a factor of reconciliation towards peace and peaceful communal work and
finally as a medium for transactions and deferred payment.
In connection with its spiritual function, the sacred leaf of the Incas
has been used for millennia by the Indians in ceremonial and ritual acts to
express respect and gratitude to their gods and to Mother Earth for having
provided them with the means of subsistence for life to continue.
In the Indian world view the coca leaf also acts as a natural nexus for
the balance between nature and the people of the Andes; between labour - the
barometer of their human dignity - and rational enjoyment of their natural
resources. These peoples' harmonious development of a society which was the
most advanced and best organized of its time is a source of inspiration
today for all those struggling for the survival of the Earth and of its
vegetable and animal diversity.
Among the manifold social functions performed in traditional relations by
coca, it inspires native hospitality and generosity. It is the Indian's
companion, whether he is a miner or a labourer, from the cradle to the
grave. At times of physical and moral exhaustion, despair and suffering, the
small green leaves not only quell the pangs of hunger, sadness and
suffering, but like a pick-me- up and a tonic they revitalize the Indians'
resistance to the vicissitudes of time, to the hard labour on arid soils and
the exploitation in mines, and provide them with comfort better to support
their status as a vanquished people, discriminated against, exploited and
affronted in their dignity.
Furthermore, within the Andean civilizations' millennial tradition, the
coca plant has served as a spiritual and material factor, as a source of
knowledge and intuition for the indigenous populations, thanks to which they
were able to diagnose and cure numerous illnesses, to foretell the fate and
destiny of the ayllus in the noble coca leaves and predict natural
occurrences (hail, frost, etc.) in order better to prepare and adapt
themselves to the rigors of the weather.
Consequently, it is impossible to imagine the native Andean Indians
without their plant, which enshrines so much respect and veneration. By
virtue of its profound mystical and mythical significance in religion,
culture, health and work, the coca leaf is a powerful symbol of Indian
identity and thus irreplaceable by any alternative crop. Those who try to
eradicate coca are guilty of undermining the very foundations of the Andean
cultural heritage, of uprooting ancestral traditions and promoting the
overbearing penetration of Western so-called "civilization".
In the light of the research carried out and confirmed by daily experience,
one may assert that the coca plant is essentially a medicinal plant par
excellence, whose preventive and therapeutic properties have demonstrated
their effectiveness throughout time.
According to research, the chemical composition of coca leaves is more
complete and rich in calories, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibre, ash,
minerals (calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, ascorbic
acid, etc.) and vitamins A, C and E than other food plants and infusions in
common use such as coffee, tea, camomile, etc. Thanks to this research, it
is nowadays recognized that the coca leaf contains more proteins (19.9 per
cent) than meat (19.4 per cent) and far more calcium (2,191 per cent) than
condensed milk, and that it is richer in vitamin B-1 (276 per cent) than
fresh carrots (see, Carter and Mamani, Coca in Bolivia, 1980).
It is not by chance that the plant has acquired a broad and diverse range
of applications in the traditional medicine of the indigenous people. Its
irreplaceable qualities have been demonstrated over time and throughout a
vast territory. The coca leaf has established itself as the traditional
remedy for treating physiological and psychological illness, and by virtue
of its composition it is a powerful energy restorer for curing stomach and
digestive ailments, alleviating affections of the larynx and vocal chords,
preventing vertigo, regulating arterial pressure and the metabolism of
carbohydrates, and even of improving sexual prowess.
Finally, a direct link has been established between man's hunger, his
physical and moral fatigue and the traditional use of coca, which ranges
from chewing, through infusions to poultices. Under extreme poverty,
characterized by malnutrition and by disease due essentially to lack of
calories and vitamins, the chemical composition of coca not only allows
indigenous people to withstand cold and hunger, but also provides them with
a valuable source of vitamins and energy.
In this respect, foreign tourists are even more aware than the Indians
themselves of the value of coca as the basis of an excellent herbal tea for
controlling altitude sickness (soroche) and adapting to the climate of the
fascinating Andean altiplano. It is significant that during a visit to
Bolivia, Pope John Paul II consented to drink coca tea and implicitly
acknowledged the virtues of the sacred leaf of the Incas.
Firstly, it is necessary to stress and distinguish the fundamental
difference between chewing coca in the Andean setting and the unlawful use
of cocaine in the West. In a speech made in 1992 before the annual Assembly
of the World Health Organization, the President of the Republic of Bolivia,
Mr. Paz Zamora referred to these confused and contradictory interpretations
and observed that "coca is an Andean tradition while cocaine is a
Western habit" (Tribune de Geneve, 7 May 1992).
Undoubtedly the consumer countries deliberately assimilate the leaf with
its profound significance and the reviled drug, condemned by indigenous
peoples but avidly consumed by westerners in the form of cocaine, whose
perverse effects are destroying the health of present and future generations
in the consumer societies. In the view of the adversaries of coca, trapped
by their own logic of supply and demand, coercion is sufficient to control
drug addiction: i.e. eradicating the plant to the detriment of the survival
of an ancestral Andean tradition.
Secondly, by virtue of its properties in medicine, health and work, the
traditional form of coca leaf consumption is neither harmful nor injurious
to the organism, unlike caffeine, tannin and nicotine which have spread and
achieved universal recognition.
In contrast with growing alcohol and tobacco consumption, the traditional
use of coca in its manifold forms is not and never has been a form of drug
addiction, but a natural indigenous custom which it is possible to give up
without producing any narcotic syndrome. No one can claim, in the absence of
scientific proof to the contrary, that the Quechua and Aymara Indians,
particularly in Peru nd Bolivia, who have been chewing the sacred leaf of
their ancestors since time immemorial, have become drug addicts.
Consequently, the indigenous coca producing populations have every reason
to be indignant about the lack of logic in the contradictory arguments of
the Western countries, which maintain that the perverse effects of the drug
in their rich societies can be controlled without eradicating the economic,
social and moral factors that have engendered one of the West's greatest
The adversaries of Andean culture, who condemn the coca plant, with a
glass of whisky in one hand and a cigarette in the other, clamour for its
eradication and treat its producers as pariahs should give a plain answer to
the following questions: If alcoholism is one of the greatest scourges in
Europe and responsible for the slow extermination of the indigenous
populations in America, why is the cultivation of the vine not eradicated,
even though the vine incarnates one of the elements of the old world's
identity? Since the tobacco habit is responsible for a huge number of
victims in consumer societies, why is it impossible to prohibit the growing
of tobacco? Obviously, no answers will be forthcoming.
However, there is one irrefutable observation that needs to be
emphasized: was it not the gringo, the white man, for whom gold, plants and
even cultural artifacts embody mercantile and monetary value who disembarked
on Indian land and transformed the coca leaf, which contains 1 per cent of
cocaine among its 14 alkaloids, into an illicit commodity? The chemical
processing of the leaves of the plant, with their extremely varied
therapeutic properties, into a hard paste and the preparation and
consumption of cocaine in the West is part of the logic of the renowned
market economy, and like any commodity, is determined by capitalism's
economic laws of supply and demand.
In the light of economic reality, we have every right to assert that the
causes of this contemporary scourge are not to be found in the Andean
countries nor are they the fault of the Indians, who are usually blamed. The
true causes must be sought in the huge drug markets, in the insatiable
economic and financial interests run by international and multinational
mafias, among those reaches of society nagged by anxiety, by the constant
fear of losing the rat race and by despair. Finally, questions must be
raised about the attitude and complicity of the dependent countries' ruling
classes whose leaders only yesterday hypocritically viewed coca as a means
of depraving the Indians and then shamelessly accepted the leftovers from
the huge earnings of the unlawful traffic generated by the West.
The paradox is that the United States of America, which declared war on
coca plantations, condoned the coup d'etat carried out in the 1980s in
Bolivia by the military-drug traffickers, and nowadays in the name of
democracy stands surely for the policy of corrupt Governments and bestows
its generosity on regimes run by veritable mafias.
In this context, the cocaine consuming countries have been caught up in
the web of their own economic liberalism and are the victims of their own
way of life, morals and license by which everything is permitted, except the
preservation of human dignity. As a result they have no answer to the
question of how to eradicate from a sick social body those once accepted
pernicious habits, and they are even less able to find a remedy to restore
the social and moral balance of those excluded from the consumer societies.
Meanwhile, the indigenous populations have for centuries been suffering
from the curse of their own wealth: in the past they suffered from the curse
of gold and silver and nowadays they are the victims twice or even thrice
over of their coca plant, international crime, the pillaging of their coca
plantations, the military occupation of their territories and the violation
of their national sovereignty, as well as suffering repression and affront
to thei dignity. For this reason, the indigenous peoples unhesitatingly
condemn criminal acts that violate the peoples' physical and moral
AGAINST ERADICATION AND FOR LEGALIZATION
Under the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, signed in Vienna in 1988, it is
prohibited to sow, cultivate, harvest, process and market coca leaves,
against which an undeclared war is being waged to achieve their complete
eradication, with the exception of lawful consumption such as for chewing,
medicinal use in herbal tea and poultices, etc.
As has already been observed, in Western eyes the most suitable solution
to the unlawful traffic in cocaine paste for export to the United States of
America and Europe would be the total eradication of coca plantations in the
Andean countries over a period of some six years at a cost of millions of
This strategy, which has been developed by the Drug Enforcement
Administration of the United States Department of Justice includes a vast
programme to eradicate the Andean shrub by abusively and unlawfully
employing herbicides such as hexazinone and tebuthiuron which have
devastating effects on vegetable life. Apart from definitively eradicating
the coca plantations, the arbitrary and unilateral use of defoliants and
other chemicals would render vast areas of Andean land sterile and transform
them into a desert. Even more significant, by its perverse effects, this
coercive measure is a de facto violation of the spirit of the Rio Conference
on safeguarding biodiversity.
In addition to the campaign to eradicate and replace millennial crops,
which goes far further than we imagine, there are other plans and methods of
destruction. The "scientists" of the United States Drug
Enforcement Administration even recommend the use of other "natural
enemies" such as insects and fungi. This pernicious plan, which is
inspired by research, envisages the use of the larva of the eloria noyesi
butterfly, whose voracity makes it one of the most efficient weapons to
eliminate the shrub. According to research, the butterfly, which inhabits
coca producing areas and apparently exclusively feeds on coca leaves, is
allegedly capable of consuming over 50 leaves in its one month of existence,
and of destroying even the shrubs' buds; as a result even the hardiest
plants die under the onslaught of eloria.
The report by the Drug Enforcement Administration also recommends other
"natural enemies" such as the larva of the eucleodora coca fly
which apparently only attacks certain varieties of plant, the herbivorous
ayromyernex ant, of whose effects little is known, and the aeguidos
pacificus beetle all of which constitute a serious threat to the survival of
the Andean plant. However, cocaine and the other alkaloids contained in the
coca leaves offer natural defence and resistance to the unsavoury pests
manipulated by "scientists" in the drug-consuming countries.
Whatever weapons are used to control coca growing and cultivation, with
its traditional roots among the natives of the Andes, any sophisticated
eradication and extirpation campaign will prove illusory and utopian in the
context of the market economy and of uncontrolled economic neoliberalism -
the ideology of modern societies - whose inspiration lies in the irrational
instinct to produce and consume more and more. Far from putting an end to
the extraction, crystallization, purification and chemical synthesis of coca
unlawful criminal acts which represent a direct threat to the health and
well-being of consumers - the eradication of ancestral plants and the
destruction aboriginal customs and traditions could generate social
conflicts with irreparable consequences.
In the light of the foregoing it is imperative to legalize the sowing,
cultivation, exploitation, marketing and consumption of coca leaves to allow
the rehabilitation of their medicinal qualities and the reassessment of
their pharmacological properties, which should moreover be the subject of
In the eyes of the indigenous populations this is undoubtedly the only
way to bring the areas devoted to coca growing gradually under control,
absorb the surplus illegal production, plan and organize marketing subject
to special regulations, with the overall objective of balancing supply and
demand for lawful consumption.
There is no other solution to the constant growth and expansion of the
drug trade in the industrialized countries, unless Governments demonstrate
the political will to industrialize surplus production to manufacture
medicines, food, infusions, etc. It is now the responsibility of the
Government of consumer and producer countries to accord just and equitable
treatment to coca cultivation and resolutely fight the international mafias
which have infiltrated every sphere of economic, political and social life.
A Complete Guide to Manufacturing Cocaine
Although this drug is categorized as a local anesthetic, I have
chosen to put it in with the hallucinogens because of the psycho- tomimetic
effects that it produces.
Cocaine is not a phenylethyl- amine, but it produces central nervous
system arousal or stimulant effects which closely resemble those of the
amphetamines, the methylenedioxyamphetamines in particular. This is due to
the inhibition by cocaine of re-uptake of the norepinepherine released by
the adrenergic nerve terminals, leading to an enhanced adrenergic
stimulation of norepinephrine receptors. The increased sense of well being
and intense, but short lived, euphoric state produced by cocaine requires
Cocaine does not penetrate the intact skin, but is readily absorbed from
the mucus membranes, creating the need to snort it. This accounts for the
ulceration of the nasal septum after cocaine has been snorted for long
The basic formula for cocaine starts by purchasing or making tropinone,
converting the tropinone into 2-carbomethoxytropinone (also known as
methyl-tropan-3-one-2-carboxylate), reducing this to ecgonine, and changing
that to cocaine. Sounds easy? It really is not very simple, but with
Reagan's new drug policies, cracking down on all of the drug smuggling at
the borders, this synthetic cocaine may be the source of the future. This
synthesis is certainly worth performing with the high prices that cocaine is
now commanding. As usual, I will start with the precursors and intermediates
leading up to the product.
Succindialdehyde. This can be purchased, too. 23.2 g of
succinaldoxime powder in 410 ml of 1 N sulfuric acid and add dropwise with
stirring at 0ˇ a solution of 27.6 g of sodium nitrite in 250 ml of water
over 3 hours. After the addition, stir and let the mixture rise to room temp
for about 2 hours, taking care not to let outside air into the reaction.
Stir in 5 g of Ba carbonate and filter. Extract the filtrate with ether and
dry, evaporate in vacuo to get the succindialdehyde. This was taken from JOC,
22, 1390 (1957). To make succinaldoxime, see JOC, 21, 644 (1956).
Complete Synthesis of Succindialdehyde. JACS, 68, 1608 (1946).
In a 2 liter 3 necked flask equipped with a stirrer, reflux condenser,
and an addition funnel, is mixed 1 liter of ethanol, 67 g of freshly
distilled pyrrole, and 141 g of hydroxylamine hydrochloride. Heat to reflux
until dissolved, add 106 g of anhydrous sodium carbonate in small portions
as fast as reaction will allow. Reflux for 24 hours and filter the mixture.
Evaporate the filtrate to dryness under vacuo. Take up the residue in the
minimum amount of boiling water, decolorize with carbon, filter and allow to
recrystallize in refrigerator. Filter to get product and concentrate to get
additional crop. Yield of succinaldoxime powder is a little over 40 g, mp is
5.8 g of the above powder is placed in a beaker of 250 ml capacity and 54
ml of 10% sulfuric acid is added. Cool to 0ˇ and add in small portions of 7
g of sodium nitrite (if you add the nitrite too fast, nitrogen dioxide fumes
will evolve). After the dioxime is completely dissolved, allow the solution
to warm to 20ˇ and effervescence to go to completion. Neutralize the yellow
solution to litmus by adding small portions of barium carbonate. Filter off
the barium sulfate that precipitates. The filtrate is 90% pure
succindialdehyde and is not purified further for the reaction to create
tropinone. Do this procedure 3 more times to get the proper amount for the
next step, or multiply the amounts given by four and proceed as described
Take the total amount of succinaldehyde (obtained from 4 of the above
syntheses combined) and without further treatment or purification (this had
better be 15.5 g of succindialdehyde) put into an Erlenmeyer flask of 4-5
liters capacity. Add 21.6 g of methylamine hydrochloride, 46.7 g of
acetonedicarboxylic acid, and enough water to make a total volume of 2
liters. Adjust the pH to 8-10 by slowly adding a saturated solution of
disodium phosphate. The condensate of this reaction (allow to set for about
6 days) is extracted with ether, the ethereal solution is dried over sodium
sulphate and distilled, the product coming over at 113ˇ at 25 mm of
pressure is collected. Upon cooling, 14 g of tropinone crystallizes in the
pure state. Tropinone can also be obtained by oxidation of tropine with
potassium dichromate, but I could not find the specifics for this operation.
Carbomethoxytropinone. A mixture of 1.35 g of sodium
methoxide (this is sodium in a minimum amount of methanol), 3.5 g of
tropinone, 4 ml of dimethylcarbonate and 10 ml of toluene is refluxed for 30
min. Coo] to 0ˇ and add 15 ml of water that contains 2.5 g of ammonium
chloride. Extract the solution after shaking with four 50 ml portions of
chloroform, dry, evaporate the chloroform in vacuo. Dissolve the oil residue
in 100 ml of ether, wash twice with a mixture of 6 ml of saturated potassium
carbonate and three ml of 3 N KOH. Dry and evaporate in vacuo to recover the
unreacted tropinone. Take up the oil in a solution of aqueous ammonium
chloride and extract with chloroform, dry, and evaporate in vacuo to get an
oil. The oil is dissolved in hot acetone, cool, and scratch inside of flask
with glass rod to precipitate 2- carbomethoxytropinone. Recrystallize 16 g
of this product in 30 ml of hot methyl acetate and add 4 ml of cold water
and 4 ml of acetone. Put in freezer for 2l/2 to 3 hours. Filter and wash the
precipitate with cold methyl acetate to get pure product.
Methylecgonine. 0.4 mole of tropinone is suspended in 80
ml of ethanol in a Parr hydrogenation flask (or something that can take 100
psi and not react with the reaction, like stainless steel or glass). 10 g of
Raney Nickle is added with good agitation (stirring or shaking) followed by
2- 3 ml of 20% NaOH solution. Seal vessel, introduce 50 psi of hydrogen
atmosphere (after flushing vessel with hydrogen) and heat to 40-50ˇ. After
no more uptake of hydrogen (pressure gauge will hold steady after dropping
to its lowest point) bleed off pressure and filter the nickle off, rinse out
bottle with chloroform and use this rinse to rinse off the nickle while
still on the filter paper. Make the filtrate basic with KOH after cooling to
10ˇ. Extract with chloroform dry, and evaporate the chloroform in vacuo to
get an oil. Mix the oil plus any precipitate with an equal volume of dry
ether and filter. Add more dry ether to the filtrate until no more
precipitate forms, filter and add to the rest of the precipitate.
Recrystallize from isopropanol to get pure methylecgonine. Test for
activity. If active, skip down to the step for cocaine. If not active,
proceed as follows. Stir with activated carbon for 30 min, filter, evaporate
in vacuo, dissolve the brown liquid in methanol, and neutralize with 10% HCI
acid in dry ether. Evaporate the ether until the two layers disappear, and
allow to stand for 2 hours at 0ˇ to precipitate the title product. There
are many ways to reduce 2-carbomethoxytropinone to methylecgonine. I chose
to design a Raney Nickle reduction because it is cheap and not as suspicious
as LAH and it is much easier than zinc or sodium amalgams.
Cocaine. 4.15 g of methylecgonine and 5.7 g of benzoic
anhydride in 150 ml of dry benzene are gently refluxed for 4 hours taking
precaution against H20 in the air (drying tube). Cool in an ice bath,
acidify carefully with hydrochloric acid, dry, and evaporate in a vacuum to
get a red oil which is treated with a little portion of isopropanoi to
As you can see, this is quite a chore. The coca leaves give ecgonine,
which as you can see, is only a Jump away from cocaine. If you can get
egconine, then dissolve 8l/2 g of it in 100 ml of ethanol and pass (bubble)
dry HC1 gas through this solution for 30 min. Let cool to room temp and let
stand for another 11/2 hours. Gently reflux for 30 min and evaporate in
vacuo. Basify the residue oil with NaOH and filter to get 8.4 g of
methylecgonine, which is converted to cocaine as in the cocaine step above.
Below is given a somewhat easier method of producing tropinone by the
general methods of Willstatter, who was instrumental in the first synthetic
production of cocaine and several other alkaloids. After reviewing this
method, I found it to be simpler than the above in many respects.
Tropinone. 10 g of pyrrolidinediethyl diacetate are
heated with 10 g of cymene and 2 g of sodium powder, the reaction taking
place at about 160ˇ. During the reaction (which is complete in about 10
min) the temp should not exceed 172ˇ. The resulting reaction product is
dissolved in water, then saturated with potassium carbonate, and the oil,
which separates, is boiled with dilute sulfuric acid. 2.9 g of tropinone
picrate forms and is filtered.
Here are two more formulas devised by Willstatter that produce
tropinone from tropine. Take note of the yield differences.
Tropinone. To a solution of 25 g tropine, dissolved in
10 times its weight of 20% sulfuric acid are added 25 g of a 4% solution of
potassium permanganate in 2 or 3 g portions over 45 min while keeping the
temp at 10-12ˇ. The addition of permanganate will cause heat (keep the temp
10-12ˇ) and precipitation of manganese dioxide. The reaction mixture is
complete in I hour. A large excess of NaOH is added and the reaction is
steam distilled until I liter of distillate has been collected. The
tropinone is isolated as the dibenzal compound by mixing the distillate with
40 g of benzaldehyde in 500 cc of alcohol and 40 g of 10% sodium hydroxide
solution. Let stand several days to get dibenzaltropinone as yellow needles.
Yield: 15.5 g, 28%. Recrystallize from ethanol to purify.
Tropinone. A solution of 12 g of chromic acid in the
same amount of water (12 g) and 60 g of glacial acetic acid is added
dropwise with stirring over a period of 4 hours to a solution of 25 g of
tropine in 500 cc of glacial acetic acid that has been warmed to 60-70ˇ and
is maintained at this temp during the addition. Heat the mixture for a short
time on a steam bath until all the chromic acid has disappeared, cool and
make strongly alkaline with NaOH. Extract with six 500 cc portions of ether
and evaporate the ether in vacuo to get an oil that crystallizes readily.
Purify by converting to the picrate or fractionally distill, collecting the
fraction at 224-225ˇ at 714 mm vacuo.
The tropinones can be used in the above formula (or in a formula that you
have found elsewhere) to be converted to cocaine. Remember to recrystallize
the 2-carbomethoxytropinone before converting to methylecgonine.
COCA PUDDING By: Jerry Stratton
(A recipe for a pudding including coca leaves)
Zabaglione, Sabayon A cream mousse of Italian
origin which is used to coat hot puddings but which can also be served in
cups or glasses, as a sweet.
(The etymology of the word deleted.....)
Beat together in a basin 250 g. (9 oz., generous cup) sugar and 6 egg
yolks until the mixture forms a 'ribbon'. Flavour with 1 tablespoon vanilla
sugar, orange, lemon or tangerine peel, or vanilla extract.
Add 2(1/2) dl. (Scant (1/2) pint, generous cup) sweet or dry white wine.
Cook in a bain-marie or in a double saucepan over a very low heat, whisking
vigrously until the mixture becomes frothy and stiff.
It then continues with variations on Zabaglion, including.....
Zabaglione (`a) la kola, Sabayon (`a) la kola Prepare
some zabaglione using port wine. When the mixture begins to set,
add 2 teaspoons of the following mixture:
equal quantities of liquid cola extract and liquid coca extract flavoured
with a littly syrup made from the rind of bitter oranges.
This zabaglione, which should be eaten very hot, is not only a
very tasty dessert, but also an excellent medicine.
And, just to check what this coca is they're talking about:
COCA:Peruvian shrub, the leaves of which are chewed by the
Indians. Considered an economical food, its properties are due to the effect
produced by its alkaloid, cocaine, which is as stimulating as tea or
coffee.It is used as an infusion, as a wine, as an elixer, and also used as
an ingredient of certain cakes.