Essay by rougefairieJunior High, 9th grade January 2004

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Cocaine is a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant drug derived from the leaves of the coca bush, a plant that grows mainly in Peru and Boliva. Because it's a stimulant in the drug, when in the bloodstream, it heightens alertness, increases appetite, and causes insomnia and a feeling of pleasure. Although cocaine is mostly referred to as crack, it's also called coke, base or freebase.

The native people of the Andes Mountains first used the leaves of the coca bush. They used them to get vitamins and to have the ability to work efficiently at the higher altitudes. When Spain invaded, they outlawed the chewing of the leaves, believing it to be a pact with the devil. Shortly after, they allowed it again when they found the coca leaves to cause the slaves to work harder in the Spanish mines. When other Europeans discovered the coca leaves, they tried to export them to Europe to sell there, but chewing the leaves didn't become popular or profitable so they discontinued.

Cocaine as we know it today (usually in a white crystalline powder) was first produced by a German scientist named Freidrich Gaedcke and a man called Alfred Neimann. They took the coca leaves, mashed them with a water-acid mixture, extracted the fluid produced, combined it with other ingredients like lime and petrol and crushed it further to make the powder. Cocaine was used medically as an anesthetic in Europe because it was thought to promote good health. Cocaine comes in three forms, liquid - called speedball, smoking form and most commonly, powder. Cocaine is brought into the bloodstream in liquid form, smoked and "snorted" through plastic tubes or a straw into the nose. People took cocaine in the 1800's because they thought it was beneficial, people do cocaine now because of...