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Producing Synthetic Cocaine Introduction

The Way to Produce Synthetic Cocaine

Relative to medical usage, a stimulant is defined to be an agent that arouses organic activity, strengthens the action of the heart, increases vitality, and promotes a sense of well being. Cocaine is one of the most powerful stimulants found in nature (Future of drug use, 1997).

Cocaine was organically derived from the coca plant found throughout South America. The first use of the coca plant for its stimulant properties can be traced to the ancient Incas in Peru. Called the "divine plant," Inca nobility and priests chewed the leaves of the coca plant in order to achieve a trance state of consciousness during religious ceremonies. Later, common people began to chew the leaves in order to reduce fatigue and hunger while working (Cocaine HCL..., 1996). The first medical use of cocaine was discovered by Alexander Bennett in 1873. Bennett demonstrated that cocaine could be used as an anesthetic (Cocaine HCL..., 1996).

Coca (Erythroxylon) is grown in South America on remote farms located in the Andes mountains. The leaves of the coca plant are harvested from three to four times a year. Once harvested, the leaves are placed into large inground trenches or aboveground vats (Cocaine HCL..., 1996).

The "guerrilla" method of obtaining cocaine entails treating the leaves with salt and covering them with gasoline and allowing the leaves to sit. The liquid is later drained and further refined into cocaine base. Cocaine base is further refined, using hydrochloric acid, into cocaine HCL or powder cocaine. It takes approximately 150 pounds of coca leaves to make one pound of powder cocaine (Cocaine HCL..., 1996).

A more refined method of obtaining cocaine involves treating the leaves with sodium carbonate solution, followed by treatment with dilute acid and extraction with ether. The solvent is evaporated after which the substance is redissolved and subsequently crystallized (Considin...

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