Cocaine's History, Especially the American Experience

  1. Gregory R. Bock Organizer and
  2. Julie Whelan
  1. David F. Musto

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514245.ch2

Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions

Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions

How to Cite

Musto, D. F. (2007) Cocaine's History, Especially the American Experience, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions (eds G. R. Bock and J. Whelan), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514245.ch2

Author Information

  1. Child Study Center (Psychiatry) and the History of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471931799

Online ISBN: 9780470514245

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Keywords:

  • cocaine;
  • thomas edison;
  • world war I;
  • french coca wine;
  • united states

Summary

The history of cocaine in America can be traced to the late 19th century. After the discovery of its physiological and psychological effects, cocaine figured in consumables as diverse as hay fever remedies, local anaesthetics and soft drinks. The development of its different usages as well as eventual control of its use through restrictive legislation followed a different pattern in America from that in Europe. In the United States, national laws to control drugs faced constitutional obstacles until the era of World War I. Initially acclaimed as an ideal tonic, within two decades of its introduction in the mid 1880s cocaine was perceived as an extremely dangerous drug. By the 1930s cocaine had declined in use and in the 1960s, when it gradually emerged again, almost no public memory existed of the earlier ‘epidemic’. Once again this substance evolved into a threatening and seductive hazard with some similarities to the earlier episode.