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#04 Science in History
16th September 1884
On this day in 1884, cocaine was first used by Carl Koller. Koller successfully performed surgery on an eye that was anaesthetised using the drug. The procedure led to the use of cocaine as a localised anaesthetic in many medical procedures, including those used in dentistry.
Cocaine, isolated and synthesized in the mid to late 1880s, eventually found its way into many unregulated products. It was used in toothpastes, tooth drops, drinks, sweets, lozenges and cigarettes.
Some Interesting Examples:
Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, which later became 7UP, at one time contained cocaine and a lithium salt - a mood stabiliser. Coca-Cola, created by chemist John S. Pemberton, contained small quantities of cocaine for nearly 40 years, starting in the 1880s.
Sore Throat Lozenges, Pastilles, and syrups containing cocaine were aimed mainly at speakers and singers. They are now known to have caused internal damage to users.