If coca is not dangerous, how then could one still justify the prohibition of Cocaine by the government of the USA?

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The essential answer to this is that the amount of cocaine in a coca leaf is very small. A coca leaf is typically less than 1% cocaine (they vary between about 0.5 and 1%), and 350–400 kilograms of coca leaves are required to produce a single kilogram of cocaine. This...

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The essential answer to this is that the amount of cocaine in a coca leaf is very small. A coca leaf is typically less than 1% cocaine (they vary between about 0.5 and 1%), and 350–400 kilograms of coca leaves are required to produce a single kilogram of cocaine. This means that one would have to chew huge numbers of coca leaves to ingest a single line of cocaine, and clearly, the drug would be released into the body very slowly over a much longer period of time.

The practice of Mithridatism (gaining immunity to poison by regularly taking small amounts) has regularly demonstrated that even the most toxic substances can be harmless if sufficiently small amounts are taken. It may be argued that cocaine is actually not one of the most toxic substances and that the average household contains many more dangerous things, including glue and bleach. Cocaine, by contrast, was regularly taken by many people for decades after the alkaloid was isolated from the coca leaf without ill effects. In many countries, including the United States, it can be prescribed for medical use. These points are quite true, but the fact remains that, even if cocaine is regarded as a dangerous drug, the coca leaf is far too mild a stimulant to be similarly dangerous.

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Coca (Erythroxylum coca) is a tropical plant native to western South America, which is often grown and cultivated in northern South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The Andes used coca leaves in many of their traditions and religious rituals, as well as medical practices, as it has several health benefits; people sometimes chew coca leaves to relieve hunger, pain, and fatigue and use coca plant extracts to cure colds and treat asthma. Coca tea is sometimes used to cure altitude sickness and relieve stomach pain and nausea.

The coca leaf contains many alkaloids, such as cocaine, cinnamate, ecgonine, nicotine and others. While the coca plant itself is not very dangerous, cocaine is considered to be one of the most addictive drugs in the world. Its short-term effects (over sensitivity, intense feelings of pleasure, anger, paranoia) are not as concerning as its long-term effects, which result in numerous health problems, both physical and mental. Regular use can cause the brain to adapt to the drug and become dependent on its chemical composition in order to function properly. It can also cause serious cardiovascular and raspiratory damage, as well as seizures and extreme headaches.

The most common mental health problems, which usually occur during cocaine withdrawal, are depression, severe anxiety, nightmares and trouble remembering things. Cocaine overdose, on the other hand, is not only dangerous, it is also life-threatening and deadly, as it more often than not leads to a stroke or a heart attack. In fact, in the last three years of the previous decade, there has been an increase in the number of cocaine-related overdose deaths of US citizens. Even though some agree that the criminalization of cocaine did not reduce the crime rate nor did it improve the general health of the people, the numerous harmful effects and the high toxicity of the drug are certainly a good enough reason to justify the prohibition of cocaine use. However, it is arguably more effective to help the people who have a drug problem, than to imprison them or burn down plant fields in order to "destroy the source."

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