Cocaine Names and Their Origins

Many people think that cocaine has only been a drug of choice since it exploded onto the club scene of the 1980s. The image of celebrities at Studio 54 doing lines is hard to erase from the public consciousness. Having been around for centuries, cocaine has been known by a number of different names. Some are mostly lost to history, and others are in common usage today. Whatever it’s called, cocaine is a powerful and addictive drug, capable of ruining lives.

Early Cocaine Names

In ancient South America, the Incas in the Andes Mountains chewed coca leaves for their mild, stimulant effect. Depending on the region, this ritual was known as mambear or chacchar and was practiced by adults and children alike, often as a part of religious ceremonies that sometimes included human sacrifice. The active ingredient of cocaine was somewhat diluted in the leaf form at that time. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America, they translated the Incan words to mean “gift from the gods.”

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European Cocaine Names

The Spanish took leaves back home to Europe, and use of coca leaves met early chemistry labs. When distilled, coca could be added to tonics, smoked or snorted. Pope Leo XIII was fond of carrying a small flask of wine lace with liquid cocaine, called “vin Mariani,” and perhaps the first literary reference to cocaine came from Shakespeare, who repeatedly referenced the word “blow” in his tragedy, King Lear. Sigmund Freud published a book in praise of cocaine, called “Uber Coca,” claiming it was both an aphrodisiac and a miracle drug.

Early American Cocaine Names

By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, cocaine was still legal and beginning to become more powerful. It found its way into quack medicines of all kinds, and was nicknamed “coke” after being popularized in a new soft drink, Coca-Cola. Yes, “the pause that refreshes” was also addictive! Eventually, it was outlawed as its terribly destructive nature became known. That’s when the names got interesting.

Modern Slang Names for Cocaine

Coke, white horse, nose candy, flake and snow are all popular names for cocaine in modern times. As chemistry changes, names like crack, freebase and rock became well-known. Smack and yayo are still other names. Street terminology seems to change and morph with every attempt law enforcement makes to control the spread of cocaine, as a way to talk in code about drug deals and the product. Sometimes, it’s simply referred to as “C.” It’s even been called Whitney and Belushi, after famous celebrities who were known for their fatal addictions to cocaine.

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Cocaine by any name is addictive and deadly. People with undiagnosed heart conditions can die from the effects of their very first dose. Continued use can destroy health, finances, careers, relationships and lives, quickly devolving into the use of crack, risky behavior and a life that ends on the streets. If you or someone you love is sliding into dependency on cocaine, get help now. Call our hotline at 800-447-9081, where expert knowledge and assistance are available today. Our toll-free number may be your first step on the way to a drug-free life.

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