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.