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In the 1880s, John Pemberton, a pharmacist from Atlanta, concocted a drink called Coca-Cola from a prescription syrup that had been used to treat headache, hysteria, and depression. Pemberton's elixir drink contained coca leaves, kola nuts, and a small amount of cocaine in a sugary syrup. His secret formula was picked up by Asa Chandler, who formed the Coca-Cola company. The drink was praised by the New York Times as the new wonder drug. At about the same time, cocaine was sold in a cigarette produced by the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company. The cigarettes were marketed as a cure for infections of the throat.

Various forms of cocaine and the addiction risks associated with them. Illustration by Hans & Cassidy. Courtesy of Gale Group.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cluster compound to ConcupiscenceCocaine - History, Introduction To The West, Coca-cola, Early Drug Laws, After The 1960s