Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is illegal in the United States unless used for medical purposes, but that wasn’t always the case. For many years, cocaine was thought to be as innocuous as sugar and an over-the-counter cure-all remedy for several ailments. Not surprisingly, because of this belief, cocaine in commercial products was a popular occurrence. Due to the huge number of surprising products that used to have cocaine, several people became addicted to the drug without realizing it. The result was a large number of people requiring cocaine addiction treatment, but there is no history of this sort of specific treatment either being available or received.
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. That’s when outside pressures forced its removal from the drink, and it became the soft drink that it is today. 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. Pembert
on and originally advertised as an over-the-counter medicine that could help with a variety of ailments. The now popular soda is also rumored to be named as such because it was made from the kola nut and extracted from coca leaves. The exact amount of cocaine in Coca-Cola is often debated, and the soda company doesn’t openly advertise the use of this former ingredient.
What Products Contained Cocaine?
Not only was cocaine in Coca-Cola for several years, but in the past, there were plenty of commonplace products containing cocaine. Before people learned of the dangerous side effects of cocaine, including its potential for addiction, cocaine products were available in drug stores.
Adding cocaine to drinks was a popular thing to do as many other people wanted to mimic Coca-Cola’s ingredients and success. However, in addition to cocaine in Coca-Cola products, other drugs like lithium were also used in sodas like 7UP as a mood-stabilizing agent. In fact, 7UP’s original name was Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, with the word “lithiated” right in the title!
Lozenges for sore throats were also former commercial products with cocaine. Because of its alleged medicinal qualities, cocaine throat 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.
Ironically enough, cocaine can actually cause a sore throat, especially when it’s smoked. It’s also known to cause damage to the lungs, heart, and other areas and functions of the body. So, in reality, cocaine lozenges would make sore throats worse and increase the likelihood of addiction.
Among the surprising products that used to have cocaine are toothache drops. Scientists were able to isolate the active ingredient of coca leaves, Erythroxylon coca (which would later be known as cocaine.) Pharmaceutical companies at the time loved this new, fast-acting, and fairly inexpensive stimulant.
Marketed mostly to children for toothaches, these cocaine toothache drops contained small amounts of cocaine that were meant to ease the pain associated with tooth-related pain. At the time, parents had no idea what they were really giving their children.
Dating back to 1884, cocaine eye drops are still used today to make ophthalmological procedures safer and easier for doctors. Ophthalmologist Carl Koller was the first to discover that a few drops of cocaine solution could act as a topical anesthetic for a person’s cornea. This made the eye immobile and de-sensitized to pain, resulting in less bleeding and making eye surgery easier and safer.
News of this discovery spread, and eventually, cocaine was being used in eye and sinus surgeries and eventually was used to treat toothaches, depression, sinusitis, lethargy, alcoholism, and impotence. Furthermore, while cocaine eye drops – cocaine hydrochloride solution of 4% to 10% – are available in the U.S., it is not FDA approved, and they are only prescribed in specific circumstances.
As if cigarettes weren’t bad enough, before cocaine was illegal, several companies added this drug to cigarettes. Due to cocaine cigarettes, we now know that the nicotine in cigarettes enhances the effects of cocaine on the body. This means that people were not only becoming addicted to cigarettes in the past but they were also addicted to the cocaine in them as well.
Most of these surprising products that used to have cocaine no longer contain the now illegal drug. Not only did these commercial products contain cocaine, but cocaine ads were also pretty popular. You can find several old advertisements that openly broadcast the use of cocaine or coca leaves in their products.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment in Lake Worth
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 is addicted to cocaine or another drug, our BHOPB detox center wants to help you with the first step to recovery. All of our detox programs are led by our medical team, during which patients receive medication-assisted treatment (as needed) to alleviate any discomfort or pain caused by withdrawals.
Medically supervised detox not only makes the early stages of recovery smoother but also decreases the individual’s chances of relapse and increases their likelihood of long-term success. Our Lake Worth drug rehab also offers various levels of addiction treatment to ensure we have services that will help everyone who walks through our doors to get and stay sober long-term.
- NIH – Coca-Cola’s Scandalous Past
- BBC – Cocaine for soldiers & opiates for teething babies: exploring the history of drug use