There is a very common notion among people across the world that addictive drugs are substances that make people feel drunk and sleepy, and interrupt their natural senses. Though this may be true especially for alcohol, this simply is not the case for cocaine, a very dangerous drug commonly used.
Cocaine is a white powder that comes from the coca plant grown in Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. Coca plants were initially reserved for use by Inca royalty. The rest of the population eventually used coca plant leaves for mystical, religious, social, and medical purposes. They exploited its stimulant properties to ward off fatigue and hunger, enhance endurance, and to promote a sense of well-being.
The invading Spanish forced the Incan people to work hard in the fields. But the Spanish quickly learned that their captives could barely do work in the fields without chewing on the coca leaf (then referred to as the “gift of the gods”). Eventually the coca leaves were harvested and distributed to the Incan workers three or four times per day.
With the use of this magical plant, the Incans were able to do much productive work. Soon the use of cocaine became so common that the leaves were used as money; distances were measured by how far one could travel before having to stop and replenish the leaves.