Surprising Products that Used to Have Cocaine

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Surprising Products that Used to Have Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that is now illegal in the United States unless used for medical purposes, but that was not always the case. For many years, cocaine was thought to be as innocuous as sugar and a cure-all over-counter remedy for several ailments. Not surprisingly, because of this image, cocaine in commercial products was a popular occurrence. Because of the huge number of commonplace products containing cocaine, several people became addicted to the drug without realizing it. The result was a large number of people requiring cocaine addiction treatment but no history of this sort of specific treatment.

Did Coca-Cola Have Cocaine in It?

Yes. Most famously, the popular soda Coca-Cola with the iconic polar bear mascot did contain small amounts of cocaine from its first sale in 1886 until the 1920s, when outside pressures forced its removal from the drink and it became the soft drink that it is today.1 At the time, cocaine was legal in the United States and was a common ingredient in several medicines. In fact, Coca-Cola was created by pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton and originally advertised as an over-the-counter medicine that could help with a variety of ailments.1 The now popular soda is also rumored to be named as such because it was made from the kola nut and extract from coca leaves. The exact amount of cocaine in the soda is often debated, and Coca-Cola doesn’t openly advertise the use of this former ingredient.


Former Commercial Products with Cocaine

Coca-Cola isn’t the only product that used to have cocaine in it. Before people learned of the dangerous effects of cocaine and its addictive quality, cocaine in commercial products was a frequent event.


Adding cocaine to drinks was a popular thing to do as many other people wanted to mimic Coca-Cola’s ingredients and success.


Because of its alleged medicinal qualities, cocaine lozenges were popular and believed to help with sore throats and a variety of oral problems. These lozenges were marketed to singers and orators to help them keep their voices intact.3

Toothache Drops

Marketed mostly to children for toothaches, these drops contained small amounts of cocaine that were meant to ease the pain associated with toothaches. At the time, parents had no idea the dangers of what they were giving their children.


As if cigarettes weren’t bad enough, before cocaine was illegal several companies added this drug to cigarettes. We know now that the nicotine in cigarettes enhances the effects of cocaine on the body.4 Not only were people becoming addicted to cigarettes but also the cocaine in them as well.

Not only did these products used to have cocaine in them, but also cocaine ads were popular. You can find several old advertisements that openly broadcast the use of cocaine or coca leaves in their products. Several people bought these products specifically for the cocaine they contained.

While cocaine was thought to be mostly harmless back in the day, we now know this is not true. If you or a loved one of yours is addicted to cocaine or another drug, our detox center in West Palm wants to help you with the first step to recovery. To get more details about our Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, also known as the Center for Alcohol & Drug Studies, or to simply ask questions, you can speak to one of our admissions specialists at 561-220-3981.



  1. NIH – Coca-Cola’s Scandalous Past
  2. BBC – Cocaine for soldiers & opiates for teething babies: exploring the history of drug use
  3. VOA – Nicotine Enhances Effects of Cocaine


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