JULY 15, 1986

Printed for the use of the Committee on Governmental Affairs



. . . had some people what, wave in trouble with some form of cocaine,

but it was not until the introduction of smoked cocaine that they

had really serious problems and tremendous numbers of admis-

sions to psychiatric hospitals, with people who were insane with

the use of cocaine with people whose parents, and whole communi-

ty had given up on them because there was nothing that could be

done for them. They seemed to he incurable. And this is in a coun-

try where cocaine was always available. The difference is in the

form of the drug, and the route of administration.

Dr. Schuster has pointed out the form of the drug is a free base.

That term may not be understood. It is a word, but it is not so un-

derstandable. The usual kind of cocaine is a salt. It is cocaine with

hydrochloride next to it. It is like salt, sodium chloride. Here this is

no chloride attached to it. Free base is just plain cocaine. Alkaloids

are basic and so cocaine alkaloid is a free base.

The difference between this material and the material that was

available before is that if you heat it to about the temperature of

boiling water, it goes off into a vapor. If it goes into a vapor, you

can inhale it into your lungs, and you can take a lot of cocaine into

your lungs. You can pack your nose only so far, but you can keep

breathing for a long time. As long as you can keep breathing co-

caine vapor, you can get more of a dosage into yourself. That is the

reason why crack, or cocaine free-base, is so dangerous. There is an

unlimited amount that can go in.

The speed of that material going to the brain is very rapid. It

goes into the lungs, and immediately goes through the heart and it

is pumped up to the brain. Then you get an intense change in the

mood of the individual. which initially is extremely pleasant, and

someone wants to repeat it. But because it has gone in so fast, the

levels drops down quickly, and with the level dropping down, some-

body feels terrible. The Peruvians would call it anguista, the an-

guish of the pain, and it is a painful feeling of the fall off of that

drug blood level. So you take some more.

When you take some more. you realize that this is going to get

you a bit edgy, so you take alcohol along with it. Multidrug abuse

is very common. Taking alcohol or marijuana along with crack is

just about standard. In Peru, it was almost always alcohol and to-

bacco. Taking heroin or smoking heroin along with crack is fairly


So here we have a substance which is tailormade to addict

people. What do we graft on to it? We graft on, first of all, this gi-

gantic import industry of many billions of dollars. Second, our own

American marketing methods. It is as though Ray Kroc had invent-

ed the opium den, because what we have here is the fast food solu-

tion. It is not that McDonald's hamburgers are necessarily better,

although I am sure they are better to some people, it is the fact

that they are already prepared, they are ready to go, and they

come in a little package. Here suddenly, we have cocaine available

in a little package, in unit dosage, available at a price that kids can

pay initially.

So an intensely desirable substance, available in a unit package,

pushed by a billion dollar marketing industry, and we are going to

hand out booklets. Gentlemen. I think that we are faced with some-

thing that requires a really major response, and it requires our . . .