Cocaine Dependence

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Cocaine

World of Scientific Discovery.  Kimberley A. McGrath and Bridget Travers. Online. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007. From Student Resource Center - Gold.  HIDE DETAILS
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Updated11/20/2006
For centuries, Peruvian natives have chewed the leaves of the coca plant because of their stimulating and exhilarating effect. In 1855 the German Gaedicke isolated the active alkaloid in coca leaves. Albert Niemann (1880-1921) studied the white powder and named it "cocaine" in 1859-60, noting also the temporary numbing effect the compound had on his tongue. During the 1880s in Vienna, Austria, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) studied cocaine as a treatment for morphine addiction. Freud suggested the possible use of cocaine as a local anesthetic to a Viennese colleague, Carl Koller (1857-1944), a young ophthalmologist. Koller experimented on animals and then presented his findings to the Congress of Ophthalmology in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1884, demonstrating the successful use of cocaine as a local anesthetic during eye surgery. Koller's findings were accepted enthusiastically. Koller himself emigrated to the United States in 1888 and established a practice in New York City. American doctor William Halsted soon followed up on Koller's work by experimenting with cocaine injection into nerves to produce local anesthesia. By the end of 1885, Halsted had performed over 1000 operations using cocaine as an anesthetic. Unfortunately, Halsted also discovered another of cocaine's properties: he became addicted to the substance and spent many years overcoming his dependence. Harvey Cushing (1869-1939), a student of Halsted's, coined the term "regional anesthesia" for this local use of cocaine, in contrast to the "general anesthesia" produced by ether. In the 1880s James Leonard Corning (1855-1939), a New York neurologist, injected a cocaine solution as a spinal anesthesia; August Bier (1861-1949) of Germany did the same in 1898. The Berlin doctor Carl L. Schleich (1859-1922) used a cocaine solution for infiltration anesthesia in 1892. For many years, the addictive properties of cocaine went unrecognized. As a pain reliever and stimulant, the drug was a common ingredient in the very popular patent medicines of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Doctors freely prescribed cocaine for any number of ailments. Once the addictive dangers became known, scientists concentrated on developing synthetic substitutes for the anesthetic properties of cocaine—one of the first of these was Novocain. Today cocaine is only occasionally used medically (as a local anesthetic for some kinds of surgery). Most cocaine is now purchased and used illegally, for both its potent energizing and for its euphoric effects. Cocaine is often inhaled ("snorted"), sometimes injected, and the most potent form of cocaine (crack) is smoked. The widespread use of cocaine and the resulting increase in violence associated with drug dealing was an important factor in stimulating the "war on drugs" in the United States that has continued since the 1980s.

Source Citation
"Cocaine." World of Scientific Discovery. Ed. Kimberley A. McGrath and Bridget Travers. Online ed. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007. Student Resource Center - Gold. Web. 17 Feb. 2010. Document URL
http://find.galegroup.com/gps/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T001&prodId=IPS&docId=EJ1648500151&source=gale&srcprod=SRCG&userGroupName=mayf29809&version=1.0

Gale Document Number:EJ1648500151
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Gale Encyclopedia of Science.  K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 4th Detroit: Gale Group, 2008. From Student Resource Center - Gold.  HIDE DETAILS
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