Cocaine pp 11-35 | Cite as

The History of Cocaine

  • Mark S. Gold
Part of the Drugs of Abuse book series (DOAC, volume 3)


Cocaine derives from the leaves of coca plants—Erythroxylon coca —which are indigenous to South America. Use of coca leaves may date as far back as 5000 years before the Christian era. Burial sites from 2500 BCE in what is now Peru reveal coca leaves apparently stockpiled to assist the dead in their afterlife.1 Archaeologists have also found evidence that by 1500 BCE our ancestors may have used a liquid coca-leaf compound as an anesthetic during brain surgery. The Incan word for the coca plant, kuka, is the antecedent of our word coca.


Illegal Drug High School Senior Cocaine Abuse Cocaine User Cocaine Addict 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark S. Gold
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Neuroscience and PsychiatryUniversity of Florida College of MedicineGainesvilleUSA

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