The Constitution, Atlanta, GA, Friday, June 12, 1891

A Popular Drink Which Is Said to Foster the Cocaine Habit.

“I want to call your attention to a very vicious and pernicious thing which is going on in this and almost every other town,” said a thoughtful citizen yesterday.

“What is that?”

“The drug stores and soda founts are selling enormous quantities of something they call coca cola. It is said to relieve nervousness, and ‘that tired feeling’ and all that sort of thing, and people are drinking it a dozen times a day. I am told by a physician that the ingredient which makes coca cola so popular is cocaine. There is evidently enough of it in the drink to affect people and it is insiduously but surely getting thousands of people into the cocaine habit, which is ten times worse than alcoholism and as bad as the morphine habit. It is an awful drug and the victims of it are slaves. I have seen it!”

And here the gentleman shuddered.

“A friend of mine was a victim of it,” he continued, “and he killed himself before my eyes. He got so under the power of the cocaine habit that he saw he could not stop it, and he took a pistol and ended his life.

“I am confident that a chemical analysis of coca cola would show the presence of cocaine. A physician tells me that is the ingredient which makes it popular, and it seems to me that it is a matter which the board of health ought to look into.”