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January 6, 1975


JAMA. 1975;231(1):74-75. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240130056033

IT MAY have been rock musicians who rediscovered and reintroduced cocaine to the drug culture of the late 1960s. They serve as a pattern of prestige for millions of young people, and their songs ("cocaine, cocaine running around my brain") spread the word. The quality of the experience ("the highest high of all") is such that craving to repeat the experience can become the only reason for existence.

The Cocaine Story  The cocaine story began 3,000 years ago, according to Inca records found in what is now Peru and Bolivia. Coca leaves (Erythroxylon coca) were given by royalty as a highly valued reward for special services. It was a drug of the ruling classes. The conquistadores later discovered that coca gave the Indians the stamina to work the tin and silver mines and provided it as part of the Indians' pay. The chewing of the leaves with some lime added