of the valley
The population was
persuaded to work very hard, everybody regardless of gender or age worked
all day to receive only a third of the production but there were no rebellions
and no discontent. The unconditional obedience of the masses was due to
chewing the leaves of coca, which made people the perfect workers–they
hardly ate or slept but felt satisfied, even happy. However, the narcotic
also led to premature aging and a physical and mental breakdown. Then came
an agonizing death.
© Thomas Schöpke, http://www.plant-pictures.com
The plant which
caused, and unfortunately still causes, that degradation of personality
is a two- to three-meter-high evergreen bush from the wet tropical regions
of South America, nowadays also cultivated in subtropical zones and South
Asia. It has small shiny spear-shaped leaves and red cherry-fruit. Until
1860, when the alkaloid cocaine was first extracted from the leaves of
the plant, people did not know why coca had such a disastrous effect. The
substance obtained was a white scentless powder, which particularly affects
the sensibility of skin and the sensory organs. This property made it valuable
for surgery and two decades later it was already in use. Cocaine also stimulates
the central nervous system. Therefore, one loses one’s feelings of fatigue
and hunger, the inferiority complex and bad mood; however, one’s health
and will deteriorate. The poisoning is very pleasant at first owing to
a momentary euphoria and incapability of perceiving the environment as
it is. Soon after that, weakness occurs, the pulse accelerates and becomes
irregular. Affected people may have seizures accompanied by breathing-
and cardiac disruptions, which may lead to a preventable fatal end.
There are many derivatives
of cocaine such as novocaine and dicaine. Novocaine injections are generally
used in a 1-10% saline solution for dental and spinal anesthesia. Unlike
cocaine, procaine is non-addictive, yet toxic. Probably, the most toxic
one of all derivatives is crack. It has wide application everywhere else
but in medicine.
following experiments best describe this drug:
|A button was placed into
the cage of lab mice. When they pushed it, a dose of crack was administered.
Within a few hours the animals forgot about eating, drinking, sleeping
and everything else and became maniacs that eagerly pushed the button.
The condition evolved–every dose was followed by an electric shock. The
mice kept pushing the button despite the pain. In a few days, 90% of the
animals had died. In a subsequent experiment, this time with heroine, none
of the mice had died.
The extent of mental
degradation caused by this insidious poison is much greater than that caused
by many others. Its use leads to paranoia, audial hallucinations, extreme
aggression and even inclination to suicide.
The number of the cocaine-
and crack-addicts is getting larger and larger; pregnant women take drugs
and bear babies with monstrous abnormalities. Cocaine has been popular
since the 16th century and is still a major threat to our generation.