Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/355

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“Value of cocaine leaves imported at the port of New York in 1894 $14,284
Imported in 1897 54,122
Indicated value of imports for 1898 75,000

“In these simple figures are contained the elements of a warning sermon that would startle all America. We seem to be rapidly becoming a nation of cocaine fiends. If the number of those addicted to the use of the dreadful drug continues to increase at the present rate, the importation of what was originally regarded as a blessed alleviation of pain, will have to be classed with opium, and its use prohibited by law, except for medicinal purposes.

“At present the cocaine fiend can purchase the drug without trouble, and the ease with which it is taken is a fatal recommendation to those who crave a nerve-deadener. No laborious cooking of pills over a lamp, cleaning of implements, or troublesome necessity for secrecy, as with the use of opium. Cocaine can be taken at any time, with scarcely any trouble, and without a soul besides the user being aware of his being in the toils.

“At first, that is. It will not be long before every intimate friend will observe a change, a gradual and scarcely perceptible change, come over the appearance and general conduct of the cocaine fiend.

“Begun in many cases in a legitimate way, as an anæsthetic, the surprisingly pleasant effect is sought for again by the one who has had a glimpse at the portals of the elysium. This is the beginning of the terrible habit. The effect is a sense of exhilaration followed by a quiet, dreamy state that causes the worried man to forget his troubles, and the sufferer his pain. Once this freedom from physical and mental sickness has been experienced, the cocaine fiend will rob or kill to get the drug. Enforced non-use of it will not cure the victim. Sentence him to a term of imprisonment, and he will go straight from the jail door to the nearest drug store to secure cocaine before he eats or sleeps.