Monday, July 25, 2011

From Miracle Drug To Scourge

CNN has an interesting story on the history of cocaine. While we rightfully view it as a scourge that has wrecked so many lives, it wasn't always viewed that way.
But back then, drugs weren't trapped behind pharmacy walls. Cocaine was sold in drinks, ointments, even margarine. The most popular product was Vin Mariani, a Bordeaux wine developed by a French chemist, with 6 milligrams of cocaine in every ounce -- nearly 200 milligrams in a typical bottle. 
In Atlanta, a Civil War veteran named John Syth Pemberton created a copycat wine. Pemberton, who had become a morphine addict after suffering war wounds, was interested in cocaine as a treatment for morphine addiction. 
He was also a shrewd businessman. When Fulton County, his Atlanta home, banned the sale of alcohol, he concocted a sweet, nonalcoholic version: Coca-Cola.
Funny how attitudes change over time. 

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