Secrets of Coca
Essay Preview: Secrets of Coca
Report this essay
Coca leaves have been chewed and consumed as tea for thousands of years in the high Andes. They are rich in many essential nutrients; they ease respiratory and digestive distress and are a natural stimulant and painkiller. Indigenous tradition and scientific studies have both confirmed that in their natural form, the leaves are completely safe and non-addictive — it takes intensive processing and toxic chemical ingredients to produce cocaine. Thats why more and more coca-containing products have started to hit the market in Andean countries in the past few years.
Yet the United States still aggressively pursues an eradication policy that encourages Andean governments to spray their forests with toxic chemicals to eliminate this medicinal crop. It is illegal to import or possess the leaves under U.S. law — unless youre the Coca-Cola company. In an effort to preserve the traditional flavor of the best-selling drink, the company long ago convinced the U.S. government to exempt it from the law.
(Coca-Cola, by the way, used to literally contain cocaine in its original formula. The practice was halted in 1903, but the name persisted. The “coca” part of “coca-cola” is derived from the coca plant, and the “kola” comes from the kola nut which also flavored the original beverage.)
The secret history of Coca-Cola, coca leaves and cocaine
Coca-Cola is the only U.S. corporation that has been granted the right to legally import coca leaves into the United States, via a coca processing lab known as the Stepan Company). In 1922, the Jones-Miller Act banned cocaine imports into the United States, but Coca-Cola (and its lab) was granted an exception. This exception remained a secret until the late 1980s when the New York Times seemed shocked to discover the truth.
More than a quarter ton of cocaine for “medicinal” use?
Its a reasonable question to wonder where all this cocaine and opium ends up going after it arrives at Mallinckrodt. The official explanation is that its for “medical use.” But lets do the math on this and see if that explanation holds water.
According to various websites that are readily found in any search engine, it takes roughly 300 grams of coca leaves to produce 1 gram of refined cocaine. This means that 100 metric tons of coca leaves (100 x 1000 kilograms, or 100,000 kilograms) can produce roughly 333 kilos of cocaine each year.
Ask around Thats a lot of cocaine. Remember, too, that these are 333 kilos of cocaine approved by the DEA — an agency which claims to be fighting a “war on drugs” but somehow grants immunity to Coca-Cola suppliers who are literally manufacturing hundreds of kilos of cocaine each year.
All this brings up