facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Why They Took the Cocaine Out of Coca-Cola

19th Century racism fueled the company's decision to extract coca from the soft drink.

Image: 

Coca-Cola's racist history resulted in a
drug-free drink. Photo via

By Ben Feuerherd

02/04/13

| Share

Prior to the turn of the 20th century, the all-American soft drink known as Coca-Cola contained a not-so-wholesome ingredient: cocaine. It was removed—not for health reasons, or to protect the children—but because of racism, explains Grace Elizabeth Hale in the New York Times. The drink originally catered to rich white people in the south, who were the only ones with access to segregated soda fountains; but in 1899 it was bottled, and anyone with five cents could enjoy a coke. This was unsettling to whites of the Jim Crow era south, who believed rising drug use among black people was leading to higher incidents of rape of white women. "Middle-class whites worried that soft drinks were contributing to what they saw as exploding cocaine use among African-Americans," writes Hale. "Southern newspapers reported that 'negro cocaine fiends' were raping white women, the police powerless to stop them." This bogus assumption was so prevalent that US State Department official Dr. Hamilton Wright said in 1910: "The use of cocaine by the negroes of the South is one of the most elusive and troublesome questions which confront the enforcement of the law ... often the direct incentive to the crime of rape by the negroes." Following these allegations, Coca-Cola began extracting the psychoactive ingredients in the coca originally used in the soda, but the process was not perfected until 1929.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv