Speech on Cocaine

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Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the history of cocaine, how it became illegal, and how it affects society almost a hundred years later. Central Idea: Although cocaine was once hailed as a cure all drug, the general population failed to see how addictive and destructive the drug can be.

I. In 1972 there was a test done on monkeys where they were injected with cocaine. II. When given a choice of interacting with other monkeys or living in isolation with unlimited amount of cocaine, they chose the latter. III. They also chose the drug over food, so much so that it led to starvation. IV. Today I would like to inform you on how cocaine became illegal as well as the affects it still has today.

Transition: However, before I do that I would like to give you a little history on cocaine and how it became the cure all drug in America. I. Cocaine has not always been the taboo drug that it is today. A. As a matter of fact, natives of the Andes Mountains used the cocoa plant for medicinal and recreational uses for over 15 centuries. 1. The Incas would chew the leaves to enhance their mood and productivity.(1) B. However, the drug itself didn’t hit mainstream until in 1859 when an Italian chemist named Albert Niemann isolated the active ingredient in the cocoa plant and called it cocaine. 2. Several patent medicines, laced with cocaine, were prescribed for ailments ranging from depression to hay fever, and was incorporated into wines and colas.(4) 3. These self-medicated medicines claimed to cure everything from sexual dysfunction to cancer. (2) And all of these were easily accessible at your local drug store. 4. You could go to the local drug store and get a shot of Coca-Cola Classic for just a nickel. Transition: Now that I’ve given you a brief history of cocaine, let’s talk about how it became illegal. II. Cocaine did not become illegal until the Harrison Anti-Narcotics Act of 1914. A. Ever...
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